Arbitration provides a forum to achieve a binding solution delivered expertly and swiftly. Our experienced team of arbitrators will guide you through the process providing first class expertise combined with care and understanding.
What is Arbitration? →
Arbitration is a process for resolving all types of disputes involving financial and children matters in family cases. It is flexible, confidential and can save time and cost. It can be the best choice for some situations.
You and your partner appoint a specialist family arbitrator to settle the issues between you. Arbitration is a voluntary process (no one can be compelled to adopt this process) but once it has started, it will deliver an outcome that will bind you both.
Rather than focusing on helping you and your partner to reach an agreement, the arbitrator will impose an outcome on both of you. If you doubt your former partner’s ability to reach a sensible agreement it can be reassuring to know that you will exit the process with a decision which provides finality.
There will always be some cases where, for whatever reason, agreement simply cannot be reached. It is in relation to these cases that arbitration can provide the best forum to finalise the issues between you.
Why use Arbitration? →
Arbitration can have many advantages. The flexible nature of arbitration can make it a quicker, cheaper and much less formal process than the traditional Court process.
Unlike the Court imposed timetable, the timing of an arbitration can be tailored to suit your requirements. You do not have to wait for several months for Court dates and are not stuck with the time that the Court allocates for the hearing.
Privacy and confidentiality
Arbitration hearings are not open to the public or press. This makes arbitration particularly suitable for resolving sensitive or highly confidential matters.
The arbitrator decides only the issues that you agree need to be resolved and will decide the procedures to settle those issues fairly and to avoid unnecessary delay or expense. If you choose to have face to face meetings as part of the arbitration, you can be represented (by a solicitor or a barrister) but the process does not require this and you may decide to represent yourself. You can even decide to have a “paper hearing” where the arbitrator makes a decision based on the written submissions made to him by the parties and no face to face meetings take place. Some clients find that this process removes much of the stress associated with the overall process.
Choosing your arbitrator
You are able to select the arbitrator best suited to decide the issues that you have identified as needing to be resolved. You can choose an arbitrator who is an expert in the relevant issues. And, (barring the unforeseen), unlike the Court process, you will have the same arbitrator for all hearings. This means that the process can move forward in a more focused and, therefore, more economic way.
Overall there are likely to be significant cost savings from using arbitration rather than the traditional Court-based process.
What Issues Can Arbitration Address? →
Family arbitration can be used to resolve financial issues and matters relating to your children (eg. residence, schooling or contact) arising from your relationship breakdown.
We have been involved in a number of arbitrations either acting as an arbitrator or as a solicitor for a party whose case is being decided by arbitration. These cases have involved:
- Division of complex financial assets, some of which were located overseas
- Provision for school fees and tertiary education
- Resolving the remainder of issues which the collaborative process had failed to settle
- Financial and housing provision for a child with special educational needs
- Dispute over a family pet
- Relocation of children in anticipation of the start of the new school year
- Variation of spousal maintenance payments; and
- financial entitlements of an unmarried couple.
Our Expertise →
We have four family arbitrators. Together they offer arbitration over both financial and children matters. They are all members of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. They are happy to discuss (without obligation) whether arbitration might be suitable for a particular case and, if so, what fee arrangements might be appropriate.
“Arbitration provides a way for separating couples to avoid the cost and time involved in lengthy court proceedings” explains James Pirrie who advised on the first reported case concerning an arbitration, reported as S v S  EWHC 7 Fam. “It took only eight weeks between committing to the arbitration process and getting the final arbitration decision in the SvS matter. If this case had gone through the full court process it could have taken between nine and fifteen months – or even longer. The costs are also greatly reduced. I would estimate that this reasonably complex case was resolved for about a quarter of what it would have cost using the normal court process”
We have some of the very best London divorce lawyers and mediators, along with accomplished arbitrators, family consultants and counsellors. There’s no one better to handle your case.
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