Arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution process, in which the parties agree to submit to the binding decision of an independent third party. Having become mainstream in the commercial world as an alternative to litigation, it is an increasingly popular resource in family law disputes.
The Institute of Family Law Arbitrators scheme is a combined initiative run by family law and arbitration professionals. The scheme has introduced an adapted set of rules which adapt certain non-mandatory provisions of the Arbitration Act 1996 so that they are more appropriate to family law disputes.
You can engage an arbitrator to resolve almost any dispute relating to claims for financial remedies, cohabitation and property disputes, and private law children matters. It can be in relation to an entire claim, or a single, specific issue.
By signing up to the arbitration process, you will agree not to apply to the court while the arbitration process is ongoing, and to be bound by the arbitrator’s decision. After the process has been concluded, you will then apply to the court for an order in the terms of the arbitral award.
The arbitration process allows parties to have more control over the process than litigation, by allowing them to agree who is to be the ‘judge’ and offering the flexibility to simplify the procedure. It is also likely to be far quicker than the court process, though also more expensive.
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