Arbitrator vs Mediator
Arbitrators and mediators are persons involved in dispute resolution. There are very few who would like to see their disputes being settled in a court of law. Proceedings in a law court are not only expensive, they are time consuming also. And then there is the fact of one party getting shattered at the end of it all when the judge rules the case in favor of one or the other party. To avoid all these things, out of court settlement is increasingly being preferred by people through two popular methods known mediation and arbitration. The third party or the person who tries to amicably solve disputes through these methods are known as mediators and arbitrators. Very few people can differentiate between a mediator and an arbitrator. Though there are many similarities an roles and functions of a mediator and an arbitrator, they are distinct and different personalities with clearly cut out responsibilities.
Mediator is a neutral person who tries to amicably resolve dispute between two parties. He performs the role of an encourager, and helps and assists the quarreling parties to arrive at a mutually beneficial solution that is acceptable to both the parties. A mediator is not necessarily a legal expert and his decisions are not legally binding. Mediator adopts the role of a guide and negotiator and helps the parties to arrive at an amicable solution themselves. A mediator meets both the parties in private and also when both are present. A mediator suggests the best possible course of action, but the parties arrive at a solution themselves, and sign the agreement. A mediator turns out to be far less expensive than legal proceedings, and there are no bickering in public.
Arbitrator is a formal person, mostly a retired judge or a very senior advocate. He gives both parties opportunity to explain their positions and attorneys of both parties can cross question witnesses from both sides. It is more or less like hearings in a court of law. Unlike mediation, there is very little out of court settlement here. Arbitrator finally gives his decision that is legally binding upon both parties like a ruling in a law court.
Differences between Arbitrator and Mediator
It is clear that though the primary purpose of both an arbitrator and a mediator is to amicably resolve the dispute, there are great differences in the role and powers of the two persons. While a mediator never gives a ruling, arbitrator’s decision is final and legally binding. While a mediator is a mere negotiator and helps and assists the parties to arrive at a solution themselves merely giving his opinions, an arbitrator has the power to give his ruling. Mediators work best in civil disputes and in divorce proceedings while arbitrators play a bigger role in complicated legal disputes such as between two companies or between management and labor of a company.