Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution. The parties enter into an agreement under which they appoint a suitably qualified person (an “arbitrator”) to adjudicate a dispute and make an award.
“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.” Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer of Thoroton.
What are IFLA and the IFLA Scheme?
IFLA and the IFLA Scheme is the result of collaboration between Resolution, the Family Law Bar Association (FLBA), The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) and the Centre for Child and Family Law Reform (CCFLR) and is chaired by the former Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer of Thoroton.
In 2012, IFLA launched a scheme to enable family disputes to be resolved by arbitration. Arbitration under the scheme is 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 panel of approved arbitrators.
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 England and Wales, 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.