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Fixed fee arbitration

Date:2 MAR 2015
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There is a continuing pressure on the legal profession to turn off the hourly billing ‘taxi-meter’ and move towards fixed fees for the provision of legal services. The pressure comes not only from the market but also the judiciary as the judgment of Mr Justice Mostyn in J v J [2014] EWHC 3654 (Fam) in late 2014 demonstrates. Many lawyers point out quite rightly that the vagaries and vicissitudes of litigation make it difficult (reckless even) to attempt to predict the amount of work required in a case and to agree a fixed fee. For example can anyone truly predict how long a case will take to resolve? Although many arbitrators under the IFLA scheme do agree a fixed price for arbitrations they do so with a sense of anxiety as they also face the same risks of the work required exceeding the fee agreed especially where the parties and their representatives have an indeterminate amount of work to do over an indeterminate period (ie they are unconstrained by any fixed fee).

But what if the parties agree to place their family dispute into...

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