Resolution has announced that Arbitration is going to be extended to private children matters later this year.
For those that can afford it, the ability to arbitrate rather than litigate on private child disputes, will be a fantastic legal development. Not only will arbitration enable you to avoid the unpredictability of going before Magistrates, you can also pick your arbitrator (who you can guarantee will have received and read any bundle submitted which cannot be guaranteed when going before the court these days), presumably circumvent the need for Cafcass involvement where appropriate, narrow the issues by agreement, and perhaps even have your dispute dealt with on paper submissions only. Time can be saved, stress reduced, unpredictability eliminated, and all to the benefit of the children at the heart of a dispute.
However, it is worrying that when more than half of all children matters coming before the court involve not just one, but two litigants in person, is arbitration going to be reserved to the wealthy elite; and with the recent announcement of further court closures, the cynic may say that this is just further privatisation of the crumbling court system.
a new Family Law Children Arbitration Scheme (‘the Children Scheme’) has been developed which will launch later this year to take its place alongside the established financial scheme. The new scheme will offer the opportunity to resolve disputes concerning the exercise of parental responsibility and other private law issues about the welfare of children by arbitration.