Julie Stather, 1 Crown Office Row
Children Arbitration is underused. The delays in children's cases prevalent for some time have been exacerbated and highlighted by Covid-19. This article explores the Children Arbitration Scheme and sets out how it could ease the burden on the Family Court in this crisis.
The article begins with a brief history of Children Arbitration from the first seeds of an idea, through mentions in case law, culminating in the launch of the formal scheme by the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators. The performance and development of the scheme is examined looking at various ways of evaluating and measuring its success to date. The current challenges for the Family Court are discussed, including examination of official data and the response from the judiciary to the growing backlog of cases. There follows a discussion about why clients should choose to arbitrate against the backdrop of the current situation and how arbitration, including work carried out remotely, can and should be encouraged in the Covid-19 world. The article concludes with observations on how the speedy resolution of appropriate cases through arbitration will minimise delay for children whose cases are arbitrated as well as those whose cases require to be litigated.
The full article will be published in the September issue of Family Law.