Arbitration can be either voluntary or mandatory. However, mandatory arbitration can only come from a statute or a contract that is voluntarily entered into, in which the parties agree to hold all existing or future disputes in arbitration, without necessarily knowing, specifically, what those future disputes could be. The arbitrations can be binding or non-binding. Non-binding arbitration is similar to mediation in that a decision cannot be imposed on the parties. However, the principal distinction is that whereas a mediator will try to help the parties find a middle ground on which to compromise, the (non-binding) arbitrator remains totally removed from the settlement process and will only give a determination of liability and, if appropriate, an indication of the quantum of damages payable. By one definition arbitration is binding and non-binding arbitration is therefore technically not arbitration.
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