What Is The Difference Between An Arbitrator And A Judge?

Arbitrators and judges are legal professionals who help parties resolve legal issues. They listen to the arguments of everyone involved and apply relevant laws to decide on various cases. However, that’s as far as the similarity between these two professions go. They hold very important differences in terms of their qualifications, the work they do and the process they undertake to resolve the cases they handle.

An arbitrator is an impartial third party who hears and decides on disputes between parties out of the court system. An arbitrator can be an attorney, accountant or other professional who holds vast and extensive experience in a particular field. In many states, they are required to finish a mediation course and a specialized training course before they can become full-fledged arbitrators. A judge, on the other hand, hears cases in the formal confines of the court system. Judges are typically lawyers who have extensive experience. They also need to have political support since most positions require them to be appointed or elected.

Arbitrators and judges perform different tasks. Arbitrators do their best to get both parties to talk with each other so they can move towards a mutually-acceptable agreement. They handle civil cases in a private and typically informal proceeding. While arbitrators allow lawyers to be present during the arbitration, the role the latter plays is very limited. Judges, on the other hand, conduct pretrial hearings and based on the evidence presented, will determine if the case should go to trial. Judges hear both civil and criminal cases in a courtroom following formal legal procedures. Lawyers play a very important role in the litigation process—in fact, judges mainly address clients through their lawyers in the hearing.

Another important difference between arbitrators and judges is in the availability of appeal once they have given their decision. In many cases, the decision of the arbitrator is binding and once rendered, cannot be appealed. When a judge renders his or her decision, however, parties may appeal it at different levels of the judicial system. It should be noted that parties may appeal an arbitrator’s decision if the option to appeal is part of the arbitration clause. In some cases, a judge can also remove the decision of the arbitrator if the complainant can prove that the arbitrator was biased to the other party. There is no official record of the proceedings handled by arbitrators while everything that happens in court hearings is formally recorded by court reporters.

Arbitrators are also different from judges in terms of who chooses them to handle a case and the waiting times for cases to be heard. The parties involved in the hearing typically choose the arbitrator to hear their case. In the litigation process, however, the court appoints the judge who will handle a particular case and the parties have no say in the matter. As far as the quickness by which the process is handled, arbitrators offer speedier resolution to cases before them compared to the ones handled by judges that usually take months or years before a decision is arrived at.

Career Spotlight: Arbitrator



If you like a career that helps parties resolve conflicts without having to go through the lengthy legal process, you can consider becoming an arbitrator. In this profession, you try to facilitate dia[...]

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