Marilyn Stowe on arbitration in The Times

Mediation|November 13th 2014

As regular readers of the blog will know, I am an enthusiastic supporter of arbitration as a means of settling family disputes. As a qualified arbitrator, I am well aware of how effective it can be. So you can imagine how much I want people to take notice.

As I said in The Times today, arbitration is like having your own private court. This is because any decision made in arbitration is enforceable by the courts. This means it has all the potency of a courtroom decision without the time, cost and stress of making a case before a judge.

The current government has displayed an unwavering dedication to force couples who are getting divorced to go through mediation. They see it as the best alternative to a clogged-up, expensive court system. However, mediation has one serious disadvantage: it is non-binding. If a couple cannot reach an agreement, there is nothing compelling them to compromise.

Divorce is a highly emotional period for everyone involved, and sometimes people do not want to reach an agreement. If there has been infidelity or mistreatment during the marriage, spouses can often feel vengeful. This is not conducive to reasonable discussions about spousal maintenance or division of assets.

With arbitration, the person overseeing the whole process is a qualified legal professional who decides, based on evidence, what would be the best for all parties. That decision is then approved by the courts.

If you would like more information about arbitration, there is plenty right here on the blog. If you have any further questions, leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

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. Luke says:

    I think there are a lot of changes that need to be made to Family Law – and certainly anything which helps get rid of the adversarial system in Family Court has to be good 🙂

  2. Andrew says:

    Sharia “courts” also function as arbitrators, and there must be a question as to how genuine the consent to submit to their arbitration is.

    I see no role for private adjudication in family matters. Nor of course in crime, probate, or family provision One law for all, please.

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