S.C. Todd, selections by Michael de Brauw, edition of March 16, 2003
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· diaitetes ·
diaitetes, pl. diaitetai · An arbitrator. Throughout the history of Athenian law, it had always been open for litigants to arrange arbitration (diaita) on a private basis: in theory, the decision of a private arbitrator was binding, presumably because the litigants had voluntarily contracted to accept it. There was also, however, a system of public arbitration, introduced c. 400 BCE: every hoplite (or possibly every citizen), in the year that he ceased to be eligible for military service at the age of 59, had to serve as public arbitrator; and every dike (private dispute) was allocated by lot to one of them for an attempt at preliminary resolution. In such cases arbitration was compulsory (litigants were obliged to attend) but it was not binding (a dissatisfied litigant could refuse to accept the verdict: see sv. ephesis). According to Aristotle, the job of the arbitrator (private or public) is unlike that of the dikastes in several respects: he should try to reconcile the parties before imposing a solution; he has the discretion to bring in a decision mid-way between the demands of the litigants; and in his judgement he should look to epieikeia (“equity,” but see further sv. epieikeia) rather than to dike (“justice”).
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