Family arbitration—the role of the courts
Family arbitration—the role of the courts

The following Family guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Family arbitration—the role of the courts
  • President’s guidance
  • Staying proceedings
  • Obtaining a consent order to reflect the arbitral award or determination
  • Where an order to reflect the arbitration award or determination is opposed
  • Case law
  • Standard orders

This Practice Note outlines the role of the courts in relation to family arbitration. In family cases, arbitration will take place under the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators (IFLA) scheme. The courts retain jurisdiction over a family arbitration award or determination and will uphold the award or determination as long as it is within accepted parameters, and therefore give effect to the parties’ autonomy. For practical guidance on, inter alia, the process of arbitration in family cases, the key benefits of arbitration, the coverage of the IFLA scheme and the powers of the arbitrator, see Practice Note: Family arbitration—introduction.

President’s guidance

In November 2015, the then President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, issued guidance as to the interaction between the family courts and financial arbitrations conducted in accordance with provisions of the Arbitration Act 1996 (AA 1996), where the parties to financial proceedings have agreed to submit issues for decision by an arbitrator whose award is to be binding on them.

The Practice Guidance—Arbitration in the Family Court (the financial guidance) is most relevant to arbitration where the issues between the parties involve relief or an award by way of one or more of the financial remedies listed in the Family Procedure Rules (FPR 2010), SI 2010/2955, 2.3. In order to be effective, some elements of an arbitral award,