An adjudicator is someone who presides, judges and arbitrates during a formal dispute. The term adjudicator essentially means a judge, without invoking the legal term. An ombudsman is a type of adjudicator in local government in the United Kingdom.

An example of an adjudicator is a person who makes a preliminary judgment as to an unemployment insurance claim. An adjudicator makes an initial decision to keep a case from going to court. Although the adjudicator's decision does not have the same legal weight, an adjudicator has still rendered a decision just like a judge. Although a case can be appealed to a judge, the adjudicator's decision is frequently accepted as the same as what a judge would make, keeping many time-consuming cases out of the court system.

Adjudicator is also a term used to refer to a panel of judges in the process of receiving a Top Secret/SCI security clearance for the United States government. Adjudicators are the panel that review all of the information from a background investigation and a polygraph and make a decision whether or not to grant the clearance. Adjudicators in a medical review board make disability and retirement benefit decisions for Federal employees and Military personnel after an individual has applied for immediate retirement because of a serious or chronic medical condition. Adjudicators also exist for immigration benefits. [1]

In contexts such as music and theater, an adjudicator (often referred to as a "judge"), is a person who gives a critical evaluation of performances in competitions, festivals or talent shows, resulting in the award of marks, medals or prizes.

In BP debate, an adjudicator is a person who weighs arguments and decides rankings in the house. There are different types of adjudicators, each with their respective duties and levels of authority, these are chair, panelist and trainee. in the event that the chair is the chief adjudicator of the tournament, they are referred to as "Speaker".


  1. ^ [1]
Adjudicators Field Manual, United States Department of Homeland Security, Citizenship and Immigration Services