February 24, 2012

Family law arbitration comes to Leeds

This week saw the launch of family law arbitration in England and Wales. The new scheme will be run by the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators (IFLA), a joint venture by family lawyers’ groups and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. It will enable couples to resolve family disputes out of court by appointing an experienced family lawyer specially trained to arbitrate under the scheme.

We’re delighted that our very own Peter Jones has become the first qualified arbitrator in Leeds and one of only three arbitrators in Yorkshire. Peter will use his extensive experience in mediation and collaborative family law to take on the role of an ‘informal judge’ and determine outcomes of divorce settlements.

A former deputy judge for fifteen years, Peter will make judgements on cases where both parties are seeking a clean break which avoids the trauma of court. The creation of the arbitrator role is a groundbreaking one in family law and only forty such roles exist nationwide.     

This news comes hot on the heels of our expansion into the South with new premises in Essex headed by experienced family lawyer  David McHardy.  David, Peter and Jones Myers partner and dual qualified lawyer Fiona Kendall are all trained mediators.     

The benefits for couples who agree to go down the arbitration route are wide-ranging. They can not only select the arbitrator of their choice – which is not the case with district judges – but can meet to resolve outstanding issues at times and in locations which are most convenient to them. 

The process is clean, relatively swift and ideal for resolving financial settlements. Because it eradicates prolonged court battles it can be less stressful and more cost effective. An additional advantage is that it reduces the burden and costs on court hearings.

What do you think to this new development? Would you be interested in using an arbitrator rather than going to court? Let us know below or tell us here.