Marilyn on arbitration

Mediation|October 21st 2014

It really is a shame how few people know about arbitration. When it comes to family disputes, it combines the best parts about the courtroom with the best parts of mediation.

In addition to being a mediator, I am an arbitrator. I would not be an arbitrator if I wasn’t convinced of its effectiveness. I have written about the benefits of arbitration before, but what exactly is it?

Basically, arbitration is another form of dispute resolution. When a couple is going through a divorce and cannot reach an agreement about finances or property, they can appoint an arbitrator.

That arbitrator will be a qualified legal professional. They will hear each party’s case and make a decision, called an ‘award’. This decision will be upheld by the court and is legally enforceable.

The meetings which inform the arbitrator’s decision can take place in person but can also be done over the phone or even in writing. They are kept completely private. Only the parties and the arbitrator will know what has been said during the meetings.

So arbitration results in a legally enforceable decision without the time, money and stress of going through a lengthy court battle. It can be quicker, cheaper and, possibly most importantly, it’s private.

If you are interested in appointing an arbitrator, you need to contact the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators, of which I am a member. They can be reached at 01689 820272, or at

The founder of Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known divorce lawyers. She retired from Stowe Family Law in 2017.

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  1. Emily says:

    Interesting comments on Arbitration above. I went through mediation during my Divorce in 2011 / 2012 and when it came to signing it off with the solicitors my ex husband reneged on a number of points previously agreed with the mediator.
    We have now been divorced for 2 years and communication is non existent, my requests for mediation are met with single word emails stating NO and so I am left in limbo with my children and communicating with regards to their wellbeing and education.
    Mediation is great, but only if both parties are open to the process.

  2. Joey says:

    This is one big home to family law information. I am keenly following on arbitration and I am sure is a practice that should be anchored in matrimonial laws world over. Arbitration is less acrimonious.Thank you sharing this post.

  3. Indian women want to ban verbal divorce - The Voice Times says:

    […] poll also found that a majority of Muslim women – 93 per cent – want a mandatoryarbitration process before a divorce can occur. Around 73 per cent of respondents also said they wanted such a […]

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