04th May 2021

Ask The Arbitrators: A Video

Ask The Arbitrators: A Video

Class Legal hosted a two part series featuring a panel of leading family arbitrators who discussed topical questions relating to the IFLA Children & Financial Schemes. FLiP’s James Pirrie took part in the debate relating to children arbitration. 

FLiP has been a contributor to www.familyarbitrator.com for several years, a site that has sought to provide resources and guidance to family arbitrators and those considering making use of family arbitration.

In this webinar (children and finance) qualified family arbitrator James Pirrie joined four of the leading family arbitrators to discuss some of the current hot topics:

  • The scope of arbitration (minute 3.01)
    • there was a discussion around the scope of the family arbitration model and encouragement to be braver and use it across a wider range of stuck problems – James considered whether family arbitration creates the possibility of access to justice across a wider range, simply because of the way that arbitration offers lower cost, faster solutions.
  • Whether domestic abuse is a barrier to arbitration being used to resolve children matters (@ minute 7.40)
    • The panelists focused upon the continuum of abuse and how there may be real benefits in arbitrating issues, in particular where there is abuse but not at the extreme end of criminality and where safety is so much centre-stage.
  • Whether arbitration should deal with fact find hearings (@ minute 11.40)
    • A discussion as regards the wide continuum and where there may be discrete matters to address and where the arbitration may be a significantly more appropriate process.
  • The safety of witnesses (@ minute 15.30)
    • We considered the careful intake provided at FLiP and the greater flexibility and control that we had over the hearing in the better resourced private premises rather than one progressing at court, which may mean that the arbitrator can be a safer and more reassuring forum than the court.
  • Whether decisions can ever safely be made on papers and without live evidence:  can you do it on papers only (@ minute 20)
    • We reflected on respect being given to the parties – that arbitration is their process and particularly where they are represented (and so are able to grasp the implications of their choices) determination on paper may reduce costs, manage anxiety and speed the process: doing so may reflect and give respect to the self-determination of the parties.
  • Why parties should step towards arbitration (@ minute 24)
    • Where James reminded participants of the centrality and default of mediation but that arbitration provides determination for stuck cases that follows the DECK principles: Delay is reduced; Expertise will be higher (in that for many this will be a very experienced barrister over an unknown lay magistrate) and above all there is Kindness: that the process is likely to be managed to be just a lot less traumatic than the pressed environment of court.
  • Refusal of arbitration: Whether a refusal to step into arbitration (because of the delays) may actually be a welfare factor (@ minute 28):
    • The person who refuses to arbitrate for tactical advantage may have their strategy count against them, which is also discussed by Hannah Markham QC here.
  • The role of arbitration with mediation (@ minute 34).
  • The cost of arbitration  (@ minute 35) and the savings that can be achieved in time and money.
  • Whether it works for litigants in person (@ minute 39) and the efforts made to make the system work for the un-represented or not-yet-represented party.
  • Models for appointing an arbitrator (@ minute 44) where parties can get stuck in the selection process and whether we should appoint arbitrators from different chambers from the advocates (@ minute 46).
  • Managing the safeguarding intake (@ minute 49).
  • The scope of the ISW report  (@ minute 51) and the advantage that the arbitrator has being able to seek a wider deeper report so that the child’s wishes and feelings are heard more clearly within the decision process and the privilege of arbitrators to be able to call on resources that the court may not have the time to be able to do.
  • The binding nature of the arbitrator’s award  (@ minute 54).
  • The possibility of extended support from the arbitrator  ( @ minute 56).
  • Later stage arbitration:  how it works perhaps to vary an order or manage the implementation stages of an order  (@ minute 56).
  • Costs of the ISW (@ minute 58).

James Pirrie is a director at Family Law in Partnership. He specialises in complex financial issues and non-adversarial and cost effective approaches to divorce and separation including mediation, arbitration and collaborative law. He helps clients take control of the issues that affect them, clarifying priorities, exploring all the options and identifying the best way forward. James is a qualified arbitrator for both financial and children matters. To find out how James can help you in your family law matters, contact James at E: hello@flip.co.uk or T: 020 7420 5000.

To find out more about Family Arbitration and how it can be used in your family law case, take a look at our dedicated Arbitration page.