A public and bitter divorce battle, there is another way – Part two

Divorce|May 28th 2019

In the second instalment of “A public and bitter divorce battle, there is another way” by Senior Partner, Julian Hawkhead he looks at how arbitration is another useful tool to resolving financial issues in divorce away from the public eye.

Another route to resolving financial issues is arbitration. Arbitration, in short, is a privately funded process where your nominated independent arbitrator decides the outcome of your case by making a binding award which through the rules of arbitration is turned into a Court order.

Like private FDRs, you can choose your arbitrator or if you cannot agree who it should be, an independent body can select the arbitrator for you. The hearing will be conducted away from the Court in private offices. It is entirely confidential, and you are not constrained by the delays of the Court system or the constraints of time. It is, however, a voluntary process. Both parties must agree to enter it.

Arbitration, at times, does arouse suspicion of bias particularly concerning the politics and tactical thought processes of the relationship between the lawyer and the arbitrator chosen. This is less of a feature of private FDRs, where the views are in any event, not binding. However, as an arbitration award is a final binding decision, the fear of bias can loom larger.

The attraction for some litigants is that the “lottery of litigation” creates a level playing field and you both share in the good or bad experiences. It does, however, reflect a naive attitude towards the private FDR and arbitration processes and shows little faith in the professionalism of highly experienced lawyers. An arbitrator who showed bias would soon lose any credibility. Judges are just as capable of misunderstanding issues, having natural human biases for different circumstances or types of behaviour.

Of course, private FDR hearings and arbitration both attract additional fees. However, if you trade that cost against the saving of time (which inevitably leads to more costs), the quality of experience and decision making, then surely it is a price worth paying?

We are dedicated to finding solutions for our clients and advise on all the options available to our clients to resolve their issues in the quickest, most cost-effective and least acrimonious way.  Read our section on out-of-court settlement options here.

With over 50 members of Resolution in our team and a high number of specialist accredited lawyers, we can help you find the best way to achieve your goals.

For advice on arbitration and other out of court settlements you can contact me here or our Client Care Team below.

You can read part one of this article here. 

Julian is Stowe Family Law’s Senior Partner and is based in our Leeds office.

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