Family Arbitration

05 OCTOBER 2012

9 Park Place Chambers is now able to offer family arbitration as an alternative dispute solution.

Family arbitration is a private adjudication service where the selected arbitrator will produce a binding decision (called an Award) to determine the issues in dispute between the parties.

The Family Law Arbitration Scheme, created by the newly-formed Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and approved by the Family Law Bar Association, Resolution and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, covers financial and property disputes arising from marriage, civil partnership, cohabitation, parenting of children, or provision for dependants from the estates of the deceased.  It therefore covers the following areas:

-          Financial Provision (ancillary relief) following the breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership;

-          Cohabitee disputes (Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 disputes);

-          Disputes under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989; and

-          Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 disputes.

The parties can choose (or have chosen for them) their own fully qualified arbitrator to determine the issues they as parties want to be decided.  The Award is binding on the parties, subject to Court approval in financial provision and children-related matters, and otherwise can be enforced, with the leave of the Court, as though it were a court judgment or order.

The benefits of a dispute proceeding via arbitration rather than the issuing of court proceedings may include the following:

-          Control: the parties “own” the procedure and can agree the format of the ‘hearing’ (i.e. on the papers only, on submissions or following contested evidence) and the issues to be determined;

-          Cost: a streamlined procedure may well save the parties time and costs. Of course the parties have to pay the arbitrator’s fees, the cost of any venue which is hired, and the cost of a transcription service if required.  However, the ability to limit disclosure and the scope of the dispute, and the potentially huge saving of time will, it is envisaged, in the vast majority of cases, lead to a net cost saving;

-          Choice: the parties choose their arbitrator, they can choose the venue for the arbitration and the time/date, no longer being subject to the vagaries of Court listing!

-          Confidentiality: the process is completely private - there is no media access, appearance on a court list or even waiting in a public waiting room.

9 Park Place Chambers would be an ideal independent venue for the arbitration to take place, alternatively the parties may choose a location of their own convenience (e.g. a hotel /conference facility close to their home or place of work). 

Please contact Michael Lieberman for more information about the new scheme or to learn more about booking an arbitrator.