Arbitration revisited

Divorce Arbitration blog in April 2012  reflected on the first 40 divorce arbitrators appointed through the Institute of Family Arbitrators. Since then, the President Lord Justice Munby in S v S has given arbitration in financial remedy cases a massive boost. A final piece of the jigsaw has been thrown down on the table by Mr Justice Mostyn in J v J – a matter which I covered in the blog Scandalous Costs.

You don’t need to be clairvoyant to detect the future for financial remedy cases. With unacceptably escalating costs in adversarial court processes, coupled with the possibility of open justice through public courts, we are unlikely to continue to litigate many financial cases as we have done in the past. The alternatives may not be as I described in Solving Disputes, but there is a lot to commend the concept of private resolution.

So, how well placed are our northern regional centres – such as Manchester, Sheffield Leeds and Newcastle – to meet future demand for private arbitrations of disputes about family finances?

A handful of individual of regional practitioners have taken the plunge to qualify as financial remedy arbitrators, yet there has been no consistent policy to produce pairings, let alone teams within barrister’s chambers or solicitors’ practices. Further, we have developed no marketing arm to promote arbitration, or practice policy to bring arbitrators together.

The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, as a regulatory body, can do so much – perhaps mainly for London based practitioners – but it hasn’t the reach to make a difference in the provinces, and market weight will not remedy this deficiency for some time to come.

This market sector is highly specialised, so it is unlikely to attract corporate players outside the current legal community of financial remedy practitioners. But that is not to say that the regional market cannot be absorbed by London collectives.

Now may be the time for northern financial remedy arbitrators to make changes – to be less reliant on the old systems of referral – and much more focused on direct marketing with a single regional dispute resolution centre. Lord Justice Munby is paving a way that we in the north would be remiss not to follow.

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3 comments on “Arbitration revisited

  1. Oliver Hanmer in Counsel Magazine, January 2015 http://www.counselmagazine.co.uk/articles/barristers-inc invites the bar (as Sir Bill Jeffrey says) to “change, adapt and thrive”. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/310712/jeffrey-review-criminal-advocacy.pdf

    Adjusting the way in which the bar does business is critical to the profession’s posterity. This means new ‘entities’. Definitely an article that should be read by every head of chambers, chambers administrator and senior clerk, let alone by the diverse members of the bar themselves.

  2. Bill in Oz says:

    Hi Stephen
    I enjoy your blog on tango..And so I stayed in San Telmo last year for 2 months including a month at Fabrizio’s tango share house on Chacabucco..

    I had a lovely time and will return to B A’s/San Telmo..

    In the meantime I look forward to reading your tango blog posts again in 2015..

    It would be good to be able to post a comment directly via your tango blog..But that seems impossible..

    And no I do not Twit not do I use ‘bookface’ etc..

  3. […] of my earlier blogs will recall my commentary on the alternatives of mediation and arbitration, which I will not repeat here. Guidance by a single expert makes sense, assuming the expert knows […]

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