What is Arbitration?

7-June-2019 Family Law By Ayuni Dewi

Arbitration is an alternative to going to Court if you require the fast resolution of a family law financial dispute which is also legally binding and enforceable.

A private arbitrator, (generally a specially trained, solicitor, barrister or retired judge with accredited arbitration training) hears the case in much the same way as a judge would and delivers a decision, sometimes referred to as an ‘award’.

The benefits of arbitration include:

1.    Efficiency

Avoid the lengthy delays experienced in the Family Courts to achieve an early outcome. Awards are handed down within 28 days.

2.    Control

While the parties do not determine the outcome; there is flexibility in the choice of arbitrator, the dates of arbitration and often the structure of the arbitration.

3.    Informality

Arbitration is not held in a court room, but the Arbitrator applies the relevant law to the evidence. As it is remains an adversarial process however, legal representation is highly recommended.

4.    Confidentiality

The process of arbitration and the decisions are confidential.

5.    Enforceability

The decision can be filed in the Family Court and breaches may be enforced.

Disadvantages of arbitration include:

1.    Cost

Preparing the evidence for arbitration is similar to preparing for a Court trial. Additionally, the parties must pay for the cost of the arbitrator which is significantly higher than the daily hearing fee at Court.

2.    Limited scope

Family Law arbitration is currently limited to financial issues and cannot deal with parenting issues.

3.    Consent of all parties

Consent to the dispute is required from all parties.

4.    Limited avenue to appeal

Can only be appealed on an error of law.


If you feel that Arbitration may be right for you, our family law team of experts would love to speak to you. Contact us today on 02 8197 0105.

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