Arbitration

Arbitration is a voluntary alternative method of resolving disputes over both finances and children in a binding manner through the joint appointment of a private judge (the arbitrator). 1 Garden Court has been at the forefront of the development of arbitration in family cases.

 

Parties who refer their case to arbitration accept that they will be bound by its terms. There are only limited methods of appeal.

 

Arbitration can take place at any stage and can be used to determine a discrete issue or to resolve the whole of the dispute. It is a uniquely bespoke and flexible service – the clients are in the driving seat as to how they want their arbitration to run – whether by way of full hearing similar to a court final hearing or simply by a decision on consideration of the papers.

 

A particular benefit of arbitration is that the parties agree on their choice of arbitrator at the outset of the process. The arbitrator will be trained and accredited by the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators (IFLA). A range of arbitrators at 1GC
provides clients with the option of a highly experienced and expert Family Law practitioner to determine their dispute. Unlike in the court process, where continuity of judge is an issue and there is little time for judicial reading, in an arbitration, the parties can be confident that their appointed arbitrator has devoted exclusive time to the assimilation and preparation of their case and will remain available to them until the arbitration is concluded. The arbitrator will also have more time available to consider and reach a decision and to provide it in a fully reasoned manner.

 

The choice of arbitration as a method of finally determining a dispute outside court proceedings will mean that the dispute can be resolved speedily with considerable saving of costs.

 

For many clients, there is the confidentiality which arbitration ensures is an added attraction. Clients are not required to attend and wait in a public setting, with details of their confidential information at risk of being overheard. There is no possibility of media access and no risk of confidential information leaking out.

 

Arbitrations can occur both in relation to financial issues arising on separation and in relation to disputes relating to children. Arbitrations under both schemes are highly flexible and led by the parties. Arbitration has been endorsed by the judiciary, notably the President of the Family Division.

 

The Children arbitration scheme puts safeguarding and the voice of the child at the centre of the process and extends to all issues relating to the exercise of parental responsibility between parents or others with sufficient interest in the welfare of the child. It does not cover cases under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court, serious medical treatment cases, international relocation cases (both permanent and temporary international removals) or where there is or may be a lack of mental capacity. Cases involving serious safeguarding issues may not be suitable.

 

The barristers at 1GC who provide arbitration services are all highly qualified and expert in the field of Family Law. Each is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (MCIArb) and on the IFLA list of accredited arbitrators. Members of Chambers who are arbitrators are:-

 

Janet Bazley QC [1] (financial and children cases)

Charles Geekie QC (children cases)

Jane Crowley QC [2] (children cases)

Francesca Wiley QC

Andrew Norton QC

Claire Heppenstall (finance and children cases)

Gillian Stanley (children cases)

 

[1] Janet is also a trainer on IFLA’s Children Arbitration course.

[2] Jane is a door tenant at 1GC

 
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Heads of Chambers Janet Bazley QC & Charles Geekie QC
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