Home Arbitration Understanding the Role of an Arbitrator: Key Responsibilities and Expertise

Understanding the Role of an Arbitrator: Key Responsibilities and Expertise

Understanding the Role of an Arbitrator: Key Responsibilities and Expertise

Understanding the Role of an Arbitrator: Key Responsibilities and Expertise


Arbitration, as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism, has gained significant popularity in recent years. Unlike traditional court proceedings, arbitration offers a more efficient and flexible approach to resolving disputes. At the heart of this process lies the arbitrator, a neutral and impartial individual responsible for ensuring a fair and just resolution. In this article, we will delve into the key responsibilities and expertise required of an arbitrator, shedding light on their vital role in the arbitration process.

Key Responsibilities of an Arbitrator:

1. Ensuring Neutrality and Impartiality:

The foremost duty of an arbitrator is to maintain strict neutrality and impartiality throughout the arbitration proceedings. This responsibility ensures that all parties involved have confidence in the arbitrator’s ability to make fair decisions. Neutrality is particularly crucial in arbitrations involving complex and contentious matters, where the arbitrator must navigate intricate legal and factual issues without bias.

2. Facilitating Effective Communication:

An arbitrator plays a pivotal role in facilitating effective communication between the disputing parties. By encouraging open dialogue, the arbitrator helps to uncover the underlying issues, clarify misunderstandings, and foster a cooperative environment conducive to reaching a resolution. Effective communication skills, including active listening and diplomacy, are essential tools for an arbitrator to ensure a fair and efficient process.

3. Managing the Arbitration Process:

Another vital responsibility of an arbitrator is to manage the arbitration process effectively. This involves setting realistic timelines, determining the scope of the dispute, and overseeing the submission of evidence and arguments. The arbitrator must also ensure that all parties have an equal opportunity to present their case, maintaining procedural fairness throughout the proceedings.

4. Applying the Law and Making Decisions:

Arbitrators are entrusted with the responsibility of applying the relevant laws and making decisions based on the evidence and arguments presented. While arbitrators are not bound by strict legal precedents, they must consider legal principles and precedents to ensure their decisions align with legal standards. Expertise in the applicable legal framework is crucial for arbitrators to render well-reasoned awards that stand up to scrutiny.

5. Drafting the Award:

Upon reaching a decision, the arbitrator is responsible for drafting the award. This requires the arbitrator to articulate the reasons for their decision and provide a clear and concise summary of the outcome. Attention to detail, strong writing skills, and the ability to convey complex legal concepts in a straightforward manner are essential for an arbitrator to create a well-written and enforceable award.

Expertise Required of an Arbitrator:

1. Legal Knowledge:

An arbitrator must possess a deep understanding of the applicable legal framework, including both substantive and procedural laws. This expertise allows the arbitrator to interpret and apply the law accurately, ensuring a just resolution. By staying abreast of legal developments and maintaining a sound knowledge base, arbitrators can effectively navigate complex legal issues that may arise during the arbitration process.

2. Subject Matter Expertise:

In certain arbitrations, particularly those involving technical or specialized subject matters, arbitrators with subject matter expertise may be preferred. This expertise enables the arbitrator to comprehend complex technical evidence, assess industry-specific practices, and make informed decisions. Whether it be construction, intellectual property, or finance-related disputes, subject matter expertise enhances the arbitrator’s ability to render well-informed awards.

3. Analytical and Problem-Solving Skills:

Arbitrators must possess strong analytical and problem-solving skills to effectively evaluate the evidence and arguments presented by the parties. By critically assessing the merits of each party’s case, the arbitrator can identify key issues, evaluate the credibility of witnesses, and determine the most equitable resolution. These skills enable arbitrators to navigate complex disputes and arrive at fair and reasoned decisions.


Q: How are arbitrators selected?

A: The selection of arbitrators is typically a collaborative process between the disputing parties. They may agree upon a single arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators, depending on the complexity and nature of the dispute. Alternatively, parties may opt to appoint arbitrators through specialized arbitration institutions that maintain lists of qualified arbitrators.

Q: Are arbitrators bound by legal precedents?

A: Unlike judges in traditional court proceedings, arbitrators are not strictly bound by legal precedents. However, arbitrators are expected to consider legal principles and precedents to ensure their decisions align with established legal standards. This flexibility allows arbitrators to adapt their decisions to the specific circumstances of the dispute while still adhering to fundamental legal principles.


Understanding the role of an arbitrator is crucial for parties considering arbitration as a means of resolving their disputes. The arbitrator’s key responsibilities, including ensuring neutrality, facilitating communication, managing the process, applying the law, and drafting the award, are essential for a fair and efficient arbitration process. Moreover, the expertise required, encompassing legal knowledge, subject matter expertise, analytical skills, and problem-solving abilities, ensures that arbitrators can make well-informed decisions that stand up to scrutiny. By comprehending and appreciating the arbitrator’s role, parties can approach arbitration with confidence, knowing that their disputes will be handled with professionalism and expertise.

For more information on the role of an arbitrator, you may refer to the following resources:

– [Link 1: Understanding the Role of an Arbitrator](insert link here)

– [Link 2: Key Responsibilities and Expertise of an Arbitrator](insert link here)