A group of legal associations have launched a landmark scheme to enable the resolution of family disputes through arbitration, it was announced today.
Not-for-profit organisation the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators (IFLA) has been created by family lawyers’ group Resolution, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) and the Family Law Bar Association, in association with the Centre for Child and Family Law Reform.
Family lawyers believe that Government cuts to legal aid will have a strong negative impact on their practice area. The IFLA is designed to provide a cheaper, faster route to resolving disputes than taking them to court.
IFLA will both govern and promote the scheme, offering a panel of family lawyers who have been trained as arbitrators. The training course is provided by CIArb. Parties in a dispute will also be able to appoint their own arbitrator should they wish.
The institute has developed rules for family arbitration, under which any arbitration will be conducted.
The IFLA will be formally launched on 26 March and will be chaired by the former Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer of Thoroton.
Falconer said the IFLA was a “logical next step” in resolving family disputes.
Disputes that could be arbitrated under the scheme include financial disputes arising from divorce; claims on inheritance from a child or spouse; financial claims made in England and Wales after a divorce abroad; claims for child maintenance between unmarried parents; disputes about ownership of a property between cohabiting couples and civil partnership financial claims.