Arbiter Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Arbiter, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Arbiter?

v. to attest is to act as a legal witness of an instrument of writing, at the request of the party making the same, and by subscribing it as a witness. Usually an officer of pre-specifed rank can attest documents as witness.

History and Meaning of Arbiter

An arbiter is a neutral party appointed to settle a dispute between two or more parties. The origin of this term dates back to ancient Rome, where an arbiter was a respected person selected by the parties themselves to settle any legal disputes outside of the courtroom. The role of the arbiter was to listen to all sides, evaluate the merits of their arguments, and issue a decision that both parties would be bound to respect.

In modern times, a legal arbiter is often appointed by a court to settle disputes outside of the courtroom. Arbitration typically involves a confidential process that is less formal and less time-consuming than a court trial. The arbitration decision, known as an award, is final and binding, meaning that it cannot be appealed, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Examples of Arbiter

  1. A couple who are separating may appoint an arbiter to help them reach a settlement agreement on child custody, property division and spousal support.
  2. Two business partners who are in a dispute over a contract may opt to resolve their conflict through arbitration rather than going to court.
  3. An arbiter may be appointed by a sports league to resolve disputes between a team and its players, such as salary disputes or issues related to collective bargaining agreements.

Legal Terms Similar to Arbiter

  1. Mediator: A mediator is another type of neutral third-party who helps two or more parties reach an agreement but does not have the power to make a binding decision.
  2. Adjudicator: An adjudicator is someone appointed by a court or tribunal to render a decision in a dispute.
  3. Conciliator: Similar to a mediator, a conciliator assists parties in reaching a settlement agreement, but may offer suggestions and recommendations on how to resolve the dispute.