Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Umpire Definition:

Another word for an arbitrator or an arbitrator appointed to resolve an arbitration when the original arbitrators cannot agree.

Related Terms: Arbitrator

The role of an umpire is usually dictated by the arbitration rules and the need for one is often precluded by simply providing for an uneven number of arbitrators.

For a time, but rarely in modern times, arbitration would be set up as two arbitrators and an umpire, the umpire taking no action except where the arbitrators are disagreed.

There are many forms of authority of an umpire but they are generally given the authority to step in and independently rule on an issue upon which the arbitrators are deadlocked.

In his 1932 law dictionary, Bryne wrote:

"Where there is a reference by consent out of court to two arbitrators, they have ... power to ... appoint an umpire; that is to say, a person who is to make the award if the arbitrators cannot agree."

In Re Eyre, Justice Coleridge wrote:

"... a person, often appointed by the arbitrators themselves, who is to settle any differences that may arise between two arbitrators."

The Newfoundland Arbitration Act, §29:

"Where a reference is to 2 arbitrators, they may appoint an umpire within the period during which they may make an award."


  • Arbitration Act, Revised Statutes of Newfoundland and Labrador 1990, Chapter A-14
  • Re Eyre & Leicester Corp. [1892] 1 QB 136

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