What does an Arbitrator do?
Not unlike a judge in a civil proceeding, an arbitrator carefully considers and analyzes the evidence that both parties to a dispute present at a hearing. The neutral draws on knowledge of relevant laws, precedents and policies to thoughtfully weigh the merits of each side's perspective and then determine liability. The cases that arbitrators handle may be straightforward or extremely complex. In complex cases, a neutral must have experience in the discipline involved, such as engineering, accounting or construction, to name only a few. Because arbitrators often must have specialized expertise, workers returning to the job market and those considering a second career may be well suited to this role. Parties to disputes often find that hiring an arbitrator with the appropriate background is preferable to litigation, since litigation does not afford litigants the option of selecting a judge based on qualifications.
A neutral will often encourage and facilitate communication between disputants and attempt to bring them to a settlement before an official hearing takes place. In such instances, he or she may guide negotiations and moderate meetings between the parties. If a settlement is reached, the arbitrator must then memorialize the understanding in writing, drafting a settlement agreement for both sides to sign. If the arbitration case proceeds to a full hearing, the neutral is responsible for drafting a written decision to support the findings, based on the evidence presented.
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