Arbitration is an alternative form of dispute resolution where parties are encouraged to work together to reach a reasonable outcome for all parties involved, without going to Court. A qualified arbitrator is agreed upon by parties to adjudicate the dispute, and they are required to agree that the arbitrator’s decision will be binding on them.
Arbitration has only been available for family law related financial and property disputes since 2012. It is now quickly becoming a welcomed alternative to resolve disputes without the need of starting the Court process.
What are the advantages of arbitration?
- Arbitration is generally dealt with quicker than matters that go to Court. This is particularly apparent as parties who opt for the arbitration process are not required to attend mediation like those intending to start court proceedings.
- The parties get a choice of who they want to arbitrate their matter. This arbitrator will then stay with the case from start to finish, providing consistency for all parties involved. Cases that are in Court often have different judges at different stages of the proceedings.
- Due to the busy schedule of the Courts, the judges do not always have sufficient time to fully prepare for the hearing and cases can often overrun. This results in parties waiting around for hours for their case to be heard and run the risk of it being adjourned until a later date due to the timetabling of the court. By choosing arbitration, the arbitrator will have the opportunity to allocate the sufficient time required to each case and ensure that matters are dealt with promptly.
- Arbitration offers the flexibility of cross overs on family law issues. For example, if the main dispute is regarding finances, but there are some issues relating to the child arrangements, they can be dealt with by the same arbitrator.
At the end of the arbitration, the arbitrator will issue an ‘award’ (for financial matters) or a ‘determination’ (for children matters).This will then be legally binding on both parties and able to be enforced by the Courts.
For information in relation to a private financial dispute resolution (FDR) hearing please click on the following link: