Why Are We Called Arbiters?

Is there truly a difference between an arbiter and an arbitrator? It may sound like semantics, but the distinction in calling the decision makers at Just Resolve arbiters, rather than anything else, is an important one.

From a strictly definitional standpoint:

Arbiter means a person appointed or chosen by the parties to determine any controversy between them. It also refers to any person or object having the power of judging or determining, without limitations. (i.e. Miss Manners is an arbiter of good manners.)

Arbitrator is a person to whom the power to settle or judge an arbitration hearing is delegated.

More specifically, the difference between an arbiter and an arbitrator is subtle– An arbiter can determine the outcome for any type or kind of dispute, while arbitrators can only decide disputes arising in the arbitration format, which has its own specific rules and procedures.

Why does this distinction matter? An arbiter has more freedom in the decision making process than an arbitrator, who is constrained by the rules of arbitration. This freedom can be important when you are trying to resolve a dispute quickly and efficiently.

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2 thoughts on “Why Are We Called Arbiters?

  1. Nice distinction, thank you for putting this out publicly.

    I often assess parties’ desire to mediate, arbitrate, or use the process in adversity, so I can propose how I might help, or even want to be involved. As an arbiter I might coach parties separately towards an informal collaborative process.

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