Arbitration is a system of non-court dispute resolution in which the parties choose the person who is to decide their dispute. The appointed arbitrator (unlike a mediator or early neutral evaluator) then has the power to make decisions which bind the parties to virtually the same extent as a judge in court.

Arbitration became possible in disputes about money and property in 2012 and about children in 2016.

Arbitration has many advantages over the court process:

  • The parties can choose their arbitrator from all those qualified (or ask for one to be chosen from a shortlist).
  • The parties can agree the procedure to be used: for instance, whether to have a hearing or to have the decision made ‘on paper’ without a hearing.
  • The parties can agree what is to be arbitrated. This may be the entire dispute, or it may just be one issue which is holding up negotiations.
  • It can take place anywhere the parties agree. Our arbitrators are happy to travel.
  • It is quick. Subject to the arbitrator’s availability, the timetable is in the hands of the parties.
  • It is confidential.

If parties are already involved in court proceedings these can be put on hold whilst the arbitration takes place.

Although arbitration may seem more expensive than the court process because the parties have to pay the arbitrator, the saving of time and the ability to agree procedure will mean that in most cases there is an overall saving of costs.

Not all disputes are suitable for arbitration because an arbitrator does not have all the powers a judge has. This needs to be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

Full details of the finance and children arbitration processes can be found on the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators website here.

The Forum of Family Arbitrators has produced a quick guide to arbitration that you can view here.

Please contact the Senior Clerk, James Shortall, for further information.

"excellent strength and depth"

Legal 500

Alexa Storey-Rea

  • Call 1990

Areas of Expertise

Children Law
Family law (general)

Dafydd Griffiths

  • Call 1997

Areas of Expertise

Family Finance
Children Law
Family law (general)

Paul Storey KC

  • Call 1982 Silk 2001

Areas of Expertise

Children Law