Family arbitration scheme launched by the newly formed Institute of Family Law Arbitrators (IFLA)
A new scheme has today been launched to enable family disputes to be resolved by arbitration. This scheme has been set up by the newly formed Institute of Family Law Arbitrators (IFLA), a not for profit organisation, created by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), the Family Law Bar Association, and the family lawyers’ group Resolution, in association with the Centre for Child and Family Law Reform.
IFLA will govern and promote the scheme for family law arbitration in England and Wales. Arbitration will provide another means of resolving family law disputes relating to finance or property, outside of a formal court process.
IFLA has formed a panel of experienced family lawyers who have been trained as family arbitrators under the scheme. To date, the bespoke training course, which has been developed in partnership with and delivered by CIArb, has attracted the retired judiciary and highly experienced specialist practitioners from across the country.
Arbitration under the scheme will be conducted under the family arbitration rules which have been developed by IFLA for the scheme. This means divorcing couples can agree to appoint their own arbitrator, or have the IFLA select one for them from its register of approved arbitrators. IFLA, which will be formally launched at an event to be held at Inner Temple in Central London on 26 March 2012, is chaired by the former Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer of Thoroton. Lord Falconer said:
“Arbitration has a long history in certain areas. For example, many commercial and construction contracts provide for dispute resolution in this way. Arbitration in family law will be another tool in the box of methods of alternative dispute resolution. At a time when there is a need to find solutions in family disputes outside the courtroom, it is a logical next step to offer arbitration as another means of doing so.”
The scheme covers: financial disputes arising from divorce; claims on inheritance from a child, spouse etc; financial claims made in England and Wales after a divorce abroad; claims for child maintenance between unmarried parents; disputes about ownership of a property between cohabiting couples and civil partnership financial claims. Disputes will be resolved exclusively by applying the laws of this country, in the same way as the Family Courts.
IFLA developed the arbitration scheme to enable parties to resolve financial disputes more quickly, cheaply and in a more flexible and less formal setting than a court room. It is also expected to save court resources and reduce pressure on the already stretched family courts.
Parties and their advisers will be able to find further details of the scheme and how to start a family arbitration at www.ifla.org.uk