FAQs on arbitration

What is arbitration?

Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution which takes place outside of court. The parties enter into an agreement to appoint a specialist lawyer (an arbitrator) to adjudicate a dispute. The parties agree to be bound by the decision of the arbitrator which is called an Award (finances) or a Determination (children).

Why should I arbitrate?

Arbitration has a number of advantages over court proceedings and is often chosen for its speed of process; confidentiality; flexibility; cost savings and for the ability to choose the arbitrator.

Is arbitration binding?

At the outset of arbitration, parties commit to be bound by the written decision of the arbitrator. The written decision is called an Award (finances) or a Determination (children). A court will not only endorse Awards and Determinations made under the IFLA (Institute of Family Law Arbitrators) Schemes, but it will also enforce them if required.

Who pays for the arbitrator?

Typically, the cost of the arbitrator is shared equally between the parties.

Is arbitration more expensive than court proceedings?

Whilst parties have to pay for an arbitrator, as the process of arbitration can often be undertaken and concluded far more quickly than would happen in court proceedings, it usually results in significant cost savings for the parties.

Who can be the arbitrator?

The arbitrator will be an experienced family lawyer who is accredited as an arbitrator by the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators (IFLA).

How is the arbitrator chosen?

Usually one party will propose three IFLA arbitrators for the other party to select one. If agreement cannot be reached between the parties, then the IFLA panel will select an arbitrator.

What disputes can be dealt with by arbitration?

Any financial and property disputes arising from family relationships and most children disputes, providing there are no safeguarding concerns.

Can I arbitrate if I have started court proceedings?

Yes. Judges have the power to adjourn court proceedings to give parties the opportunity to resolve the dispute through arbitration.