Arbitration is effectively private judging. It is regarded as a relatively new form of dispute resolution for Family Law cases. It will help to take the pressure off the Court system by enabling couples to enter into an agreement to appoint their own chosen Arbitrator to adjudicate their dispute and make a binding decision in a much quicker timeframe. Once chosen, the Arbitrator remains involved in the case and conducts the entire Arbitration until a final decision is made. The decisions made in Arbitration are as legally binding and as enforceable as those made by District Judges in Court proceedings.
I am able to represent you in Arbitration proceedings. As a qualified Arbitrator I am also able to accept an appointment as an Arbitrator if your case concerns matrimonial financial or property matters, or claims made by unmarried partners seeking to claim an interest in property, or concerning financial applications made on behalf of children.
Before arbitration starts, you both sign an agreement that you will abide by the arbitrator’s decision. You also agree that after the decision (referred to as an ‘award’) has been made, it will be turned into a court order by consent, making it enforceable in law. Although an arbitrated decision in a family law case has not yet been challenged in court, lawyers expect that arbitrated awards will be upheld by the court except in unusual circumstances.
Family law arbitrators are senior and experienced family lawyers who are qualified to be able to take arbitration cases. They all belong to the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators, which is a professional body with strict rules. I was one of the first family lawyers in the country to qualify as a family Arbitrator.
There are huge benefits to using an Arbitrator which include:
- Continuity – Cases are heard by one person throughout the entire process. This is something that can not always be guaranteed with the Court system.
- Speed – Hearings are able to be fixed quicker and at a convenient time and place to suit the parties involved.
- Flexibility – You choose your arbitrator unlike Court proceedings whereby you are allocated a Judge.
- Enforceability – The orders made are legally binding in the same way as those made by a District Judge.
- Privacy – Unless otherwise permitted the only people in attendance are the parties, their representatives, experts and witnesses. There is no press involvement.
The arbitration process is tailored specifically for your needs. With the advice of your lawyers, you choose your arbitrator and the way the process works. This means that sometimes arbitration will look quite like court proceedings held in private but in other cases it can be completed entirely on paper. Whatever process is considered to be appropriate, the end result is a binding settlement.
If necessary, the arbitrator can decide what issues the arbitration is to deal with, determine the timetable of events, deal with what evidence is needed and how it will be presented (oral or paper), and determine whether there is to be any sort of final hearing. Arbitrators can also make interim awards if necessary.
You can use arbitration to decide all the financial issues between the two of you on separation, or just a single matter. You avoid the delays of the court system, and both the process and the outcome are completely private and confidential. Arbitration can work well with mediation or collaborative law to determine any remaining issues that can’t be agreed.
The Family Law areas that I am able to deal with as an Arbitrator are:
- Financial and property disputes arising from:
- marriage and its breakdown (including financial provision on divorce, judicial separation or nullity);
- civil partnership and its breakdown;
- co-habitation and the ending of co-habitation;
- parenting or those sharing parental responsibility; and
- provision for dependants from the estate of the deceased.
I can also represent you in all family arbitration hearings, including those concerning children’s living arrangements.
Please contact me for further information.
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