The topic of arbitration as an ethical institution is admittedly an ambitious one. Perhaps 1 should commence by stating what I do not plan to discuss. This article does not concern the ethics of arbitrators themselves. That would be too simple an assignment, since total integrity, the hewing to an unswerving line dictated by conscience, is the hallmark of any successful arbitrator. Indeed, the world of dispute resolution is such that, without the highest personal integrity, no arbitrator can long withstand the crucial "selecting-out" process of the parties.
Nor do I propose to discuss the ethics of the parties themselves or their representatives. Again, with exceptions distinguished by their rarity, the arbitrator is surrounded by practitioners, however varied in their techniques and philosophies, who are nevertheless (and necessarily) devoted to the principles of fairness and restraint.
What I am concerned with is the ethical aspect of the arbitration process. This will, in effect, be a love letter to the process of arbitration as a shining beacon, a secure guidepost, in a society desperately in need of such an institution.