In the case of DB v. DLJ, the parties signed up to Arbitration as a method of reaching an agreement in respect of the finances.
What is Arbitration?
Arbitration is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) which provides a different method for couples to reach an agreement in respect of the finances.
It involves the parties appointing an independent person, known as an Arbitrator (who will be specifically qualified in Family Law) to make a decision/award in respect of certain aspects of your case.
The Arbitration process involves presenting your case and giving evidence to the Arbitrator to enable them to decide the appropriate award.
As with Court proceedings, you will often need a solicitor to provide advice and represent you at the Arbitration Hearing.
Prior to commencing Arbitration, the parties sign an agreement confirming they will abide by the Arbitrator’s decision. There are limited grounds for Appeal.
After an award/decision has been made, it will be made into a Court Order which once stamped by the Court will be binding.
Arbitration is useful as the process can be tailored to the needs of the parties and the issues in dispute. In addition, it avoids the delay and expense which often occur in Court proceedings.
The Arbitration proceedings are also confidential, which is often very important to separating couples.
The use of Arbitration in family proceedings was introduced in 2012 by the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators. It was previously used in Commercial matters, but had not been an option in Family proceedings until 2012.
The case of DB v. DLJ
In this case, the parties signed an Arbitration Agreement as a method of assisting them reach a settlement in respect of the finances.
The Arbitrator heard the evidence of the parties and made an award.
The award provided for the Wife to receive periodical payments of £36,000.00 per annum, until she had received her interest in the business.
The Arbitration confirmed that the Wife could apply to extend the periodical payments, given it was unknown whether she would suffer hardship upon termination. This was to guard against the risk of the payment for her interest in the business, not representing an adequate replacement of her loss of periodical payments.
However, the Wife had already applied for an extension of periodical payments.
The Husband stated that the Wife should show why the award made by the Arbitrator should not be made an Order of the Court.
The Wife argued that the award made was impaired by a mistake in respect of the value of the property which had been allocated to her.
The Court ruled that when parties sign up to Arbitration, they have limited rights to challenge the award.
The Court stated that the Wife had already been provided with a safety net, as she could apply to increase the periodical payments if necessary.
The Husband’s application was therefore granted and the Arbitrator’s Award was made into an Order.
At Hart Reade we promote the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution as a method of resolving matters, as we feel it is important to try to resolve matters without Court involvement.
Therefore, if you require assistance and advice in respect of Arbitration or any other form of ADR, please contact our offices on 01323 727321 to arrange an appointment to discuss your options in detail.
We also offer advice in respect of a divorce and the related financial aspects, children, injunctions or cohabitation disputes.
Please note that the family department offer a free initial 30 minute interview to provide general advice and guidance in relation to your matter.