Family arbitration—introduction
Produced in partnership with Suzanne Kingston of Mills & Reeve LLP
Family arbitration—introduction

The following Family guidance note Produced in partnership with Suzanne Kingston of Mills & Reeve LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Family arbitration—introduction
  • What is arbitration?
  • Features
  • Benefits
  • Coverage of the scheme
  • Starting an arbitration
  • Powers
  • Parties solicitors' role in arbitration
  • Glossary

This Practice Note outlines the process of arbitration in family cases, which has been available for financial disputes since March 2012, and for children issues since July 2016. It considers the applicable rules, the role of a solicitor acting for a party in reaching a binding arbitration and the key benefits of arbitration. It also details the coverage of the Institute of Family Arbitrators (IFLA) scheme and the powers of the arbitrator. For practical guidance on the role of the courts in approving or upholding arbitral awards or determinations, see Practice Note: Family arbitration—the role of the courts.

What is arbitration?

Arbitration is a form of formal dispute resolution. The parties enter into an agreement under which they appoint a suitably qualified person (an arbitrator) to adjudicate their dispute and make an award. Arbitration has been available for family law disputes since 26 March 2012 following the launch of the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators (IFLA). The IFLA is a collaboration between Resolution, the Family Law Bar Association (FLBA), the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) and the Centre for Child and Family Law Reform (CCFLR). The administration of the scheme is undertaken by Resolution on behalf of the IFLA, and the training and regulation of arbitrators is the responsibility of CIArb. The scheme is governed by the IFLA arbitration rules