FAMILY LAW ARBITRATION
Beckett Solicitors offers family law arbitration and Nadia Beckett is one of a small number of qualified family law arbitrators in England trained by Resolution. As a solicitor with over 20 years experience of family law Nadia has the skills, knowledge and expertise to arbitrate your financial dispute. Nadia is a member of Resolution together with the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators http://ifla.org.uk/ and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators http://www.ciarb.org. Nadia currently chairs the FFA (Forum of Family Law Arbitrators) and is a member of the IFLA Advisory Committee.
Family Law arbitration is relatively new to England and Wales. It is still growing but sadly many people are still unfamiliar with it. Call us now if you would like more information about arbitration.
Nadia explains the benefits of Arbitration.
Arbitration is a fantastic way of resolving legal disputes out of court. It enables you to resolve all types of financial disputes more quickly, cheaply and in a more flexible and less formal setting than a court room. With the court service becoming increasingly slow and ineffective arbitration is an alternative you shouldn’t ignore.
How does it work? Couples agree to use an arbitrator who makes a decision that is legally binding. They do not have to be legally represented (although as in most cases it is better if you are represented by a solicitor) and the arbitrator will guide them through the process. Arbitrators are a bit like private judges. They deal with the case in a very similar way but have much more flexibility. With the help of the arbitrator couples can decide for themselves what the issues are and what they want the arbitrator to decide.
The arbitrator hears all the evidence and any comments or observations that the couple wish to make. This could be done at a hearing (similar to a court hearing) or in writing. The arbitrator then reaches a decision using family law principles, in the same way that a judge would. The arbitrator’s decision is sent to the couple in the form of an arbitration award. The arbitration award is then used by the couple’s legal advisers to prepare a court order. The award becomes binding when it is turned into a court order.
What happens if one person decides that they do not like the arbitrator’s decision? Unless there is something very wrong with the arbitrator’s decision the court will uphold it and the couple will be bound by the arbitrator’s award.
Arbitration works well with mediation too. If you are using mediation you may find that you have agreed almost everything but are stuck and can’t agree on a single issue such as how to share a pension. Instead of going to court and therefore wasting all the time and money that you have spent on mediation you can choose an arbitrator to decide this issue for you. Arbitration works for all financial disputes no matter how big or small and you can use your solicitor or mediator throughout. Arbitration is also available for disputes concerning children.
Early Neutral Evaluation -Arbitration can also available to assist you with an Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) of your case. This is particularly helpful for unrepresented couples and can be used in children and money disputes. Instead of a binding decision you can use one arbitrator to give you guidance on how to resolve your dispute. The information that you provide the arbitrator is confidential and without prejudice which means it cannot be used against you in court at a later date. The arbitrator’s guidance or ENE is also confidential and without prejudice. It is not binding and its purpose is to help you try and avoid court by having an indication of what type of order the court would be likely to make in your case. If you accept the arbitrator’s guidance the arbitrator can then go on to make an award which will be binding and can be turned into a court order. However you are not bound to accept the arbitrator’s guidance. An early neutral evaluation can be used in all kinds of cases and in conjunction with court proceedings and mediation. The arbitrators fees are shared and we can usually offer you a fixed fee so no hidden surprises. Contact Nadia if you would like to discuss arbitration of ENE.
Call us to discuss arbitration and how it can help you.