WHAT IS FAMILY LAW ARBITRATION?

The Family Law Act makes provision for the determination of financial disputes between parties to a relationship by way of private arbitration as an alternative to public litigation.

Family Law arbitrators must be suitably qualified and experienced family law practitioners who have completed specialist arbitration training. They are included in a Law Council of Australia list of arbitrators in accordance with the Family Law Regulations.

Matters determined by private arbitration include the bulk of all financial disputes that may be determined under the Family Law Act. Disputes involving children’s issues and child support cannot be determined by arbitration.

The matters in issue must be determined in accordance with the provisions of the Family Law Act and the principles developed through case law.

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE ARBITRATOR?

The arbitrator is responsible for the conduct of the arbitration and the necessary decision-making required. The arbitrator must therefore ensure that all parties are afforded procedural fairness.

THE ARBITRATION PROCESS

 STEP ONE – CHOOSE YOUR ARBITRATOR

Choose the arbitrator that is best suited to your matter.

Our members offer a range of experience and cost.

FLAG (QLD) will assist you identify the expected costs and availability of each of our arbitrators.

STEP TWO – OBTAIN ORDER OR AGREEMENT

It will be necessary to obtain an Order from the Court pursuant to s.13E of the Family Law Act referring the matter to arbitration. Alternatively, enter into an Agreement to arbitrate the dispute.

STEP THREE – CONDUCT THE PRE-HEARING CONFERENCE

The Pre-hearing conference is a mandatory step at which the rules of the arbitration are established.

The style of the arbitration is tailored to the dispute.

Some matters will require a process that approximates a trial.

In those matters, the parties will have the right to appear and to be heard, personally or through legal representation, and the right to produce evidence.

Subject to the direction of the arbitrator, evidence can be tested through cross-examination.

Other matters might be able to be dealt with by way of written submissions.

In consultation with the arbitrator, the parties are guided to the type of process that best suits their case and personal circumstances.

Practical matters such as the venue for the arbitration and the date of the arbitration will be determined at the pre-hearing conference

STEP FOUR – CONDUCT THE ARBITRATION 

The matter will be heard in accordance with the Arbitration Plan generated at the pre-hearing conference.

STEP FIVE – REGISTER THE AWARD

The arbitrator has an obligation to produce to the parties a written determination after the conclusion of the hearing. It must be within the time specified by agreement between the arbitrator and the parties.

As with court proceedings, the arbitrator is required to make the necessary determinations as will finally determine the issues between the parties.

The arbitrator’s award may be registered. Once registered, such an award has the same binding effect as an order made by a court. It may be enforced as if it was an order of a court.

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Schedule time with one of our Arbitrators

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