Family Arbitration

Family Arbitration is again a new service offered under the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators (‘IFLA’) scheme. The scheme received the endorsement of the President of the Family Division in the case of S v S (Financial Remedies: Arbitral Award) [2014] EWHC 7 (Fam), [2014] 1 FLR 1257 and now the Practice Guidance issued by the President on 23 November 2015 entitled ‘Arbitration in the Family Court’. 
 
Under the Scheme, the parties appoint an arbitrator to resolve their financial remedies dispute. The scheme covers not only divorce and civil partnership disputes under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 but also claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 and the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996. 
 
The arbitrator will be a specialist in this area who will be available at short notice to give case management directions and to hear the arbitration at a time and venue of the parties’ choosing. There is no need for the parties to wait for a court to allocate a hearing date or any uncertainty as to the identity of the tribunal or whether the hearing will be effective. Arbitration can therefore be cheaper and quicker than traditional court litigation but still enables the parties to achieve finality.
 
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