Understanding the Role of an Arbitrator in Civil Disputes

July 21, 2023, 11:53 am | Updated July 22, 2023, 2:25 pm IST
Understanding the Role of an Arbitrator in Civil Disputes
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When parties engage in a civil dispute, they often seek alternatives to resolve their differences without resorting to litigation. One such alternative is arbitration, a process that involves the intervention of a neutral third party known as an arbitrator. In this article, we will delve into the role of an arbitrator in civil disputes and explore how they contribute to the resolution of conflicts outside the traditional courtroom setting.

What is Arbitration?

Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that is widely used in various sectors, including business, construction, labor, and international trade. It provides a confidential and efficient mechanism for parties to settle their disputes, offering flexibility and autonomy compared to litigation. At the heart of this process lies the arbitrator, who plays a crucial role in facilitating a fair and impartial resolution.

Who is an Arbitrator?

An arbitrator is a neutral third party who is appointed or agreed upon by disputing parties to resolve their disagreements in a civil or commercial dispute through the process of arbitration. The primary role of an arbitrator is to act as an impartial decision-maker and facilitate the resolution of the dispute outside the traditional court system.

Arbitrators can be individuals with specific expertise and knowledge in the subject matter of the dispute or the relevant legal domain. They are often chosen based on their experience, qualifications, and reputation in the field to ensure that they can effectively understand and adjudicate the issues involved.

What do you mean by Civil Dispute?

Civil disputes are legal conflicts or disagreements between two or more parties that do not involve criminal charges. These disputes can arise from a wide range of issues and are typically resolved through civil litigation or alternative dispute resolution methods, such as arbitration or mediation. Unlike criminal cases, where the government prosecutes an individual or entity for violating the law, civil disputes involve private parties seeking remedies or resolutions for perceived wrongs or breaches of legal obligations.

What is the role of an Arbitrator in civil disputes?

The role of an arbitrator in civil disputes is discussed below;

To Act Unbiased

The primary responsibility of an arbitrator is to act as an unbiased intermediary between the disputing parties. They are selected based on their expertise, knowledge, and experience in the relevant field. Unlike a judge, an arbitrator does not have the power to render binding decisions unless both parties have agreed to give them such authority. However, their role is pivotal in guiding the parties towards a mutually acceptable resolution.

Ensure procedural Fairness

One of the key aspects of an arbitrator's role is to ensure procedural fairness. They oversee the arbitration process, which typically involves reviewing evidence, listening to the arguments of both sides, and conducting hearings or meetings. The arbitrator ensures that each party has an equal opportunity to present their case and that all relevant information is considered. They also have the authority to make decisions on procedural matters, such as the admissibility of evidence and the conduct of the proceedings.

Expertise and Knowledge

The arbitrator's expertise and knowledge of the law are critical in resolving civil disputes. They analyze the legal and factual issues involved and apply their understanding to make informed decisions. Unlike a judge, who must adhere strictly to legal precedents, an arbitrator has more leeway to consider commercial or industry customs, practices, and fairness principles when rendering their decisions. This flexibility allows for a more tailored and context-specific resolution that may better address the parties' underlying interests.


It is another vital aspect of arbitration, and an arbitrator is responsible for maintaining the privacy of the proceedings. Unlike court proceedings, which are generally public, arbitration offers parties a confidential forum to resolve their disputes. The arbitrator ensures that all information disclosed during the process remains confidential, thus providing a safe space for the parties to discuss sensitive matters openly.

Decision Maker/Negotiator

The role of an arbitrator extends beyond the decision-making process, thus you can rely on the Arbitrator’s decision-making choices. They may also facilitate negotiations and encourage the parties to find common ground. Using their skills in communication, mediation, and conflict resolution, arbitrators guide the parties towards a settlement that satisfies their interests and avoids the potentially adversarial nature of litigation.Also, a arbitrator maintain neutrality throughout the arbitration procedures, thus an arbitrator’s neutrality is undeniable.

Timeliness and Efficiency

Another significant advantage of arbitration is its efficiency and timeliness. Unlike court proceedings, which can be lengthy and subject to backlog, arbitration offers a streamlined process that allows for a quicker resolution. The arbitrator plays a crucial role in managing the proceedings, ensuring that timelines are adhered to and that unnecessary delays are minimized. Their involvement contributes to a more expeditious resolution, which is particularly beneficial for parties seeking prompt closure.

Conducting the Arbitration Process

An arbitrator's principal function is to supervise and control the arbitration process. Setting procedural norms and timetables, identifying the scope of the arbitration, and ensuring that all parties have an equal opportunity to submit their case are all part of this process. They also guarantee that the process follows arbitration laws or the parties' agreements.

Creating a Communication Structure

An arbitrator establishes a communication framework in which disagreeing parties can participate in constructive dialogue. Setting ground rules, controlling communication between parties, and encouraging open dialogues to enhance mutual understanding of the concerns are all part of this. The arbitrator initially establishes ground rules that both parties agree to follow in order to construct this framework.

Evaluating Evidence and Testimonies

They examine and assess the evidence presented by the parties during the proceedings. Documents, witness testimony, expert views, and other pertinent material may be included. To determine its relevance in the final decision, an arbitrator evaluates the trustworthiness and reliability of the evidence.


The role of an arbitrator in civil disputes is multifaceted and pivotal in facilitating the resolution of conflicts. From maintaining procedural fairness and applying their expertise to fostering negotiations and ensuring confidentiality, the arbitrator plays a crucial role in guiding the parties towards a satisfactory resolution. By opting for arbitration, parties can benefit from a more efficient and tailored process, avoiding the complexities and uncertainties associated with traditional litigation. If you are stuck in any civil dispute and need civil dispute arbitrator, you must consult one of the best corporate law firms in your jurisdiction. For instance, if you are living in Kolkata, you should avail the services of a corporate lawyer or corporate law firm in Kolkata.

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