Arbitration - Crossing the Finish Line

07 SEP 2021


Family law proceedings can often be emotionally and financially burdening.  Clients are often torn between wanting their day in Court and the backlogged queue that may not have their matter heard by a Judge for years rather than months.

It is the experience of family law practitioners that there is an expectation to advise clients of the option to participate in Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”).

When people hear about alternative dispute resolution, they often think of mediation, however Arbitration is becoming a more common avenue for parties to consider in property disputes.

So, what is Arbitration?  Arbitration is a voluntary non-Court based process where parties are given the opportunity to present their case to an independent person (an Arbitrator) to make a determination on financial issues. The determination is final, subject to the usual appeal process.

The benefits of arbitration

  • Selecting the arbitrator
  • Efficiency- as a result of this the parties pay less costs
  • Privacy- the arbitral award (the decision) is not published or publicly accessible
  • Convenience- occurs at a time and place agreed by all involved
  • Flexibility- can proceed how the parties choose
  • Finality- the award is final, it is registered by the Court and only subject to review in select circumstances such as if there is an error of law.

The downfall of Arbitration is that it is only limited to matters involving financial issues and excludes parenting matters. 

Some parties may not feel comfortable with leaving their family law matter up to Arbitration, though may wish to consider having an Arbitrator deciding part of the matter such as resolving particular facts or values of assets if a complex asset pool is involved.  If the facts and values are determined then it may be the triggering point to facilitate meaningful settlement discussions and proposals to finalise a matter.  If the matter does continue to Court then there are less issues for a Court to determine resulting in simplifying the matter and ensuring there is a speedier resolution.  

If you think that arbitration might be for you, contact our family law department at one of our convenient locations to speak with an Accredited Family Law Specialist. 

The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.

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