14th Jan 2014

Another alternative to long waits in the family courts

Use of new out of court settlement scheme approved by court

The family courts are currently under a great deal of pressure.

Recent cuts in legal aid have resulted in the courts filling up with unprecedented numbers of individuals going through divorce and separation without the benefit of being represented by a lawyer.  This places extra time and resource demands on the court administration which in turn results in increasing waiting times to get a hearing date.  There are many stories that even when a date is granted that it can be cancelled with very short notice or even on the day of the hearing itself.

The President of the Family Division courts in England and Wales has now ordered that couples who use properly constructed out of court arbitration services can expect to have those decisions approved with the minimum of fuss or extra work.

The case was a reasonably complex one including international technical elements and assets of between £1.5 and £2m.  Using an arbitrator affiliated with the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators enabled the couple to resolve matters in only eight weeks once they had committed to the process.  They were also able to maintain confidentiality and greatly reduce the costs that could have otherwise been involved by almost 75%.

James Pirrie, himself an arbitrator, family solicitor and partner with Family Law in Partnership goes on to say;

“It is particularly interesting to note the statement that parties who seek arbitration may have their cases ‘fast tracked’ by the courts in the future. This encourages separating couples to reach agreements themselves, and where this is not possible on financial matters, arbitration is a quick and effective alternative to court.”

“This is the third case that we here at Family Law in Partnership have used arbitration with.  The others managed to avoid costly final hearings and various interim issues were even able to be resolved at low cost by using telephone appointments.  We think that arbitration will become increasingly useful for couples who want to get things moving and then to be able to move forwards.”

What should you do if you want to get to a quicker resolution using arbitration?

Contact James Pirrie or Bradley Williams at Family Law in Partnership.  Both James and Bradley are qualified arbitrators under the IFLA scheme and will be able to explain how the process can help you and your family to resolve matters in early course.

Contact James at JP@FLiP.co.uk or Bradley at BW@FLiP.co.uk

Alternatively you can ask us any questions about your divorce or separation using hello@FLiP.co.uk or by telephoning 020 7420 5000