What is arbitration?

Arbitration is a form of private dispute resolution, which provides people with an alternative to traditional court proceedings. Although the process has been around for many years, it has only been an option in family law disputes since 2012.

The arbitrator is independent and impartial and will make a decision in the same way as a Judge. All arbitrators are specialist family lawyers, and will have gained an in-depth understanding of the issues involved from their time as solicitors or barristers.

It is important to note that there are separate panels for financial and children arbitrations. Some arbitrators, including OGR Stock Denton’s Peter Martin, are members of both panels and are therefore able to deal with the full range of arbitrable matters.

The arbitrator can be selected by the parties by agreement or, if you do not know any arbitrators or cannot come to an agreement, they will be appointed by the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators (IFLA).

Crucially the parties agree that the arbitrator’s decision will be binding on them (subject to very limited rights of appeal or challenge). In cases of family financial disputes and children’s issues the decision is subject to the court’s supervision, but in all but the most exceptional circumstances will simply be turned into a Court Order and approved by a Judge.

The agreement that the arbitration will be binding is a pre-requisite of entering into arbitration and will be included in the paperwork that is signed at the start of the process.

Arbitration enables those who are unable to reach agreement through mediation or direct negotiation to have their dispute resolved by an independent third party, while retaining as much of a say over the process as possible.

Arbitration is designed to deal with disputes at a lower cost than litigation, affording parties privacy and reducing the risk of proceedings becoming acrimonious. You can find out more detail about the main advantages of arbitration here, or if you have any further questions please visit our contact us page.