Arbitration offers a way to achieve a tailored 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.
The lawyers at FLiP have considerable experience of arbitration whether acting as arbitrators themselves, or in supporting clients to bring their case before an arbitrator.
What is Arbitration? →
Arbitration is a process for resolving all types of disputes in family cases involving financial and children matters. It is flexible, confidential and can save time and cost. It can be the very best choice for some situations.
You and your partner jointly appoint a specialist family arbitrator to settle the issues between you. You may do this with the help of your legal advisers who will support you throughout the process. 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 reach a decision on the issues put before him/her. If you doubt your former partner’s ability to work with you to reach a sensible agreement it can be reassuring to know that you will exit the process with a clear decision.
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 settle the issues between you once and for all.
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 you 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 the arbitrator 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. 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, consistent and economic way, towards an outcome that is likely to be more reliable.
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.
At FLiP our cases have involved:
- Married and never married couples;
- Broadly based parenting questions (such as with whom the children will live) but also limited issue cases such as school choice;
- Large assets but also very small assets indeed;
- Complex cases with international aspects and with limited domestic issues;
- Broadly based all issue cases but also “last or final issue” cases (for example where all issues except for one have been agreed);
- In person hearings, zoom hearings and papers only determination;
- All financial issues or just child maintenance or a family pet; and
- Variations of maintenance.
Arbitration may be the preferred option:
- (Ideally) at the early stage, in preference to issuing proceedings at court;
- Late on, perhaps when a hearing has been postponed by the Court. If you move quickly you may be able to save the date through appointing an arbitrator to deal with the hearing instead;
- To decide interim (directions) or interim provision issues along the way, perhaps to achieve faster progress in the case;
- To deal with implementation aspects, for example. the ownership of personal possessions or the myriad questions around implementing a schedule 1 arrangement;
- To provide longer-term support in a parenting case;
- To change a maintenance order because circumstances have changed).
Our Expertise →
At FLiP we have considerable experience of arbitration – both as arbitrators and as lawyers supporting clients using the arbitration process.
“Arbitration provides a way for separating couples to avoid the cost and time involved in lengthy court proceedings” explains FLiP Director 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.”
If you would like to explore whether arbitration is the right process for your particular case, then you will usually discuss this with your lawyer if you have one. If you have not appointed a lawyer to represent you, please contact our team at E: firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a discussion on a no-obligation basis.
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.