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.