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Placing arbitration into the context of family law: Butterworths Family Law Service
Date:31 MAY 2018
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For decades, Butterworths Family Law Service (BFLS) has provided a comprehensive coverage of all aspects of family law. It was particularly appropriate, therefore, that it was the first and remains the only legal textbook to recognise fully how family law matters are now resolved in practice. Alongside the court process, an entire binder of the work is dedicated to alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

Over 5 years ago, arbitration was added to family ADR. Since then, hundreds of arbitrations have taken place and there are now over 250 arbitrators, who are all experienced family practitioners. It is now possible to deal with not only financial but also children matters.
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Part of the ADR binder of BFLS is dedicated to arbitration, putting it in the context of family law as a whole. In addition to comprehensive coverage of the rules, the procedure and the case law, checklists and precedents are provided. It is also updated regularly.

There is no doubt that all those involved in family law need an understanding of arbitration. The court rules themselves require consideration of ADR alternatives. Arbitration’s ability to work in tandem with the court process or mediation can unlock and resolve the most intractable of disputes. It is also sadly the case that the delays and well documented problems in the family justice system caused by lack of funding mean that awareness of what is involved in arbitration, and how in practice to use it, is key. 

That awareness will lead to an appreciation that the cost effectiveness, flexibility, confidentiality and consistency of adjudicators means that arbitration suits all matters, big or small. The variety of arbitrators available means also that the best qualified and most suitable for the particular matter can be chosen. 

The attractiveness of choosing arbitration as an option is not only becoming more and more apparent to practitioners. The President of the Family Division has lent support in case law and, to add to previous Practice Guidance on finance, it is anticipated that Practice Guidance will be forthcoming in the near future facilitating the interface between arbitration and the Family Court in children matters.

To keep abreast of this developing and important aspect of family law, there is no better source than BFLS.

Grant Howell is an editor of Butterworths Family Law Service

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