Personal Law
July 6, 2023

Family Arbitration: An alternative to the Court system

The Family Court

The Family Courts are at breaking point. Families face long delays for Court Hearings, with many Hearings being cancelled or adjourned at the last minute, resulting in further delays and additional costs.

These delays can often take an emotional toll on the family members whose lives are on hold whilst they await a decision from the Courts. In light of this, taking a case to Court should be the last resort.

One potential solution is Family Arbitration which can be used to resolve family disputes. It is an alternative to going to Court for most family cases.

What is Family Arbitration?

Family Arbitration is a form of private dispute resolution in which the parties appoint a qualified third party (an ‘arbitrator’) to decide their dispute. The arbitrator is a qualified legal professional. Arbitration can be used by separating and divorcing couples. It can be used to resolve financial disputes including property and disputes relating to children, whether a child should attend a certain school or whether one parent can take them abroad on holiday.

What are the advantages compared to the Court system?

Family Arbitration has many advantages:

-         The process is bespoke and can be tailored to meet the needs of the parties

-         The parties can agree the procedure: For example, whether to have an in-person hearing or for a decision to be made ‘on paper’ without a hearing

-         The parties can choose their arbitrator or, if they cannot agree, one can be chosen from an agreed shortlist

-         The process is private and confidential

-         The parties can decide what issues to arbitrate, whether that be the entire dispute or a discrete issue which is in dispute

-         It is quicker than going to court

-         There can be significant cost-savings – although the parties have to pay the fees of the arbitrator

Family arbitration can be used alongside existing Court proceedings, which can be put on hold whilst arbitration takes place. It is a voluntary process, which means that both parties must agree to resolve their dispute by arbitration before it can be used.

The arbitrator’s decision (known as an award) will be legally binding on the parties once it has been approved by the Courts and is subject to limited rights of appeal.

The role of the solicitor would involve preparing your case for arbitration, to include considering the required financial disclosure, setting out your proposed resolution and arranging representation for you at the Arbitration Hearing.

Need to talk to us?

Our friendly family team are here to explain and guide you through the arbitration process as well as deal with legal matters relating to divorce, children and finances. Please get in touch on 01892 526344 oremail For further information on all our family law services, please click here.

Fixed Fee Appointments - £100 + VAT

We offer an initial one hour fixed fee appointment with one of our friendly family solicitors for £100 + VAT. This gives you the opportunity to talk your matter through with a solicitor, get their advice and then consider your options before deciding how to progress your legal matter. Please get in touch if you feel this type of appointment would be beneficial.

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.

Let's Share

Related Posts

You Might Also Like

Not what you're looking for?

View All Posts