Family Arbitration Put Forward as a Fast-Track Financial Dispute Solution

Reforms planned by the foremost family law judge will allow divorcing couples to use a fast-track “private” justice system to resolve their financial split. Sir James Mumby, who is the President of the Family Division of the High Court, is set to issues a set of draft rules which intend to allow divorcing couples to use arbitration to reach an agreement over their financial settlement, and then only go to court to have the arbitration agreement confirmed.

The judge wrote to all family lawyers to give details of the new reforms which will create a single family court as of April, and stated that he is keen for the system to “move forward” when it comes to arbitration and other dispute resolution services. Sir James used as an example the case of S v S, which was the divorce of a couple who had been married for 26 years and commenced divorce proceedings in 2012. The legal process had reached the stage of decree nisi, and at that point both parties agreed to go to arbitration to negotiate a settlement for their assets of around £1.75 million. Within eight weeks of starting arbitration an agreement had been reached, the couple preserved their anonymity and the legal costs are far lower than they might have been in a conventional case.

These new rules should be welcomed by anyone working in family law, as they point out the many advantaged of going to arbitration, and help build the legal profession’s confidence in arbitration as a way of resolving disputes.

Here at Bonallack and Bishop, we strongly support the use of the three types of alternative dispute resolution for family law problems – family mediation, collaborative law and the new option of family arbitration. However, it is worth pointing out that family arbitrators are still relatively few and far between – and so for many people, family mediation or collaborative law may prove a more practical solution at this stage.

 Call our specialist Family Mediation team today

SALISBURY [01722] 422300

AMESBURY [01980] 622992

ANDOVER [01264] 364433                               

OR e-mail our family mediators using the email contact form below

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Warminster Family Mediation and Collaborative Law

Divorce is a deeply stressful process for many people, fraught with bitter arguments over the children and the division of financial assets. However, at Bonallack & Bishop, we believe that divorce does not always need to be this way. We offer clients in Warminster alternative ways of sorting out the disputes involved in their divorce in the form of family mediation and collaborative law. Using these methods can not only save a lot of argument but a lot of time and money as well and our firm has the expert collaborative lawyers and family mediators required in order to reach the fairest possible outcomes for your divorce.


It is important to note that family mediation and collaborative law will not be appropriate to every divorce case, particularly those where the parties argue too much to be able to discuss issues. However, those who believe that they can negotiate with their ex-partner in the presence of lawyers could benefit hugely like many of our clients have in the past. Whether you are divorcing, dissolving a civil partnership or separating following a co-habiting relationship – we could help. So, call our expert family team near Hampshire for FREE advice.


If you approach our team of family lawyers you will receive advice from accredited collaborative lawyers and family mediators/lawyers, making us certified specialists.

Call today and you will receive a FREE initial phone consultation and a FREE first half hour appointment.

So, for family mediation and collaborative law advice in Warminster, simply call [01722] 422300 or

Email for expert advice.


Family arbitration – 7 reasons to love it

We believe that family arbitration will really take off – it’s a great addition to the other existing alternative dispute resolution approaches to family law, i.e. family mediation and collaborative law. But what are the real advantages of family arbitration?

1. those involved choose their own specialist tribunal

2. the parties keep control of the whole process – and can progress at their chosen speed – not at the speed the court dictates

3. it’s quick – unlike court, there is usually only the need for numerous hearings – one directions hearing and the final hearing

4. it’s convenient – the place, date and time of any hearing, is set by those involved and by the family arbitrator – not by the court

5. the same family arbitrator deals with the case throughout – you don’t get passed from one judge to another, often dealing with a judge who has had no prior involvement or real understanding of the case

6. the whole process is comparatively informal – it easy to approach a family arbitrator for further directions if they prove necessary – unlike court, we need a formal application [usually involving extra costs]

7. depending on the complexity of the issues involved, decisions can either be recorded on paper – or made orally at a hearing

There you go – seven really good reasons why you should consider using family arbitration – it’s really all about control, and family arbitration means the parties remain in control – not the court.

Call our specialist today

SALISBURY [01722] 422300

AMESBURY [01980] 622992

ANDOVER [01264] 364433

How You Could You Benefit from Family Arbitration

Freedom to Select Your Arbitrator

Waiting to find out which judge will settle your court case the day before the hearing can be nerve-wracking and judges often aren’t given sufficient time to read the case papers thoroughly. With family arbitration, you can select your arbitrator, giving you the peace of mind that you have an experienced specialist conducting proceedings, who has had time to fully digest the details of the case.

It’s Quick!

Your freedom to select an arbitrator means that you can choose one with a relatively clear schedule. Parties are then able to set the time-scale for proceedings. This means that you can know before proceedings how long they may take and make any personal plans accordingly.


Parties to the dispute have the freedom to build security provisions into the arbitration process thereby safeguarding confidentiality, as long as the arbitrator agrees that they are reasonable. For example, parties may wish to protect themselves from leaks about confidential information by keeping all papers in a secure place or limiting disclosure requirements.

You Could Save Time and Money

Family arbitration will incur certain costs, including venue hire, arbitration fees and other expenses. However, the flexibility to limit the scope of the case and the requirements for declaration of assets etc. can help to save you money. Furthermore, you will make a significant saving in time.


Awards made under family arbitration must be respected in the same way and carry the same longevity as judgements made in court. Although these may be open to review and can be appealed against, parties can be sure that the arbitrator’s decisions will be fully implemented.

However, the arbitrator does have certain limitations. They cannot bind those who are not party to the agreement, meaning that third parties cannot be affected by their judgements. They are therefore unable to demand documents from third parties or impose interim injunctions which will bind them.

Call our specialist Divorce Solicitors today

We are absolutely committed to alternative dispute resolution as approaches to family law problems. That’s why two of our team are trained as collaborative lawyers and two as family mediators – and what’s more, a further member of our team is lined up to qualify as a family arbitrator early next year.

For more information about how our local team can help you, contact us at any of the numbers below;


AMESBURY [01980] 622992

ANDOVER [01264] 364433

SALISBURY [01722] 422300

OR e-mail our specialists at

Family arbitration – the latest dispute resolution success story?

Those of you have kept up with my blogging on this and the other sites we run, will know by now that our lawyers are genuine enthusiasts for both the family mediation and collaborative law approaches to divorce. We think that these innovative approaches provide, for the right clients, an opportunity to sort out any problems surrounding divorce, relationship breakdown, civil partnership dispute or indeed any other family law problem, in a much more suitable environment – one where the entire emphasis is on coming together to find a mutual solution to the problem, rather than seeing the whole issue as a battle to be won. As a result, those who do use one of these approaches, often find that their family law problem solved more quickly than conventional methods and quite often cheaper – and, above all, with far less antagonism. That’s why it’s such a great way of handling family law issues if there are children involved.

There is, however, now a third alternative to collaborative law and family mediation as forms of dispute resolution – family arbitration. Family arbitration is very new to the UK and currently there are less than 30 family arbitrators qualified nationwide. This site, will shortly be featuring plenty of information about family arbitration and how it works, but in a nutshell, it provides for the appointment of a qualified and accredited arbitrator to adjudicate the dispute and decide on the outcome.

In essence, it’s a bit like going to court to see a judge for a decision – but it has a number of advantages – not least the fact that, unlike court, you can bring any aspect of the dispute to arbitration – unlike going to court, where the whole issue has to be looked at. Amongst the advantages, and you’ll see plenty more articles and blogs on the subject of family arbitration over the next few months, are also its speed – getting to final hearing in a family court can easily take 6 to 9 months or maybe more. In contrast, you get to see an arbitrator potentially in just a matter of weeks. Used properly, family arbitration can also prove considerably cheaper.

Why am I telling you this? Were really pleased to announce that Mark Eyles, a divorce solicitor who is already a qualified collaborative lawyer, is training as a family arbitrator early in 2013. We are very excited by that and we hope that his clients in Northampton, Rugby, Milton Keynes, Leicester and Coventry will be too.