The Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia have formalised support for alternative dispute resolution with the introduction of an Arbitration List.
We welcome the announcement by the Federal Circuit Court and the Family Court of specialist Arbitration Lists, particularly so with limited access to Courts at the moment due to COVID-19.
In general, delays in the Courts have seen more and more people look to alternate dispute resolution. Arbitration is a very much underutilised, yet valuable means of finalising property matters. The advantage of using an alternate dispute resolution process such as arbitration, even in normal times, is that it can significantly reduce the time and costs associated with resolving your property matter.
So what is Arbitration?
Arbitration is a process whereby an independent Arbitrator rather than a Judge makes a decision, after reviewing the evidence, hearing submissions from the parties, and assessing the respective merits of the parties' cases. It is similar to the court process but much less formal. The Arbitrator is usually a solicitor or barrister, experienced in family law matters. The decision of the Arbitrator can be registered and then becomes enforceable, and only under specific circumstances can be reviewed by a court.
The new list will see more matters diverted from the traditional hearing lists in the Courts, and enable orders and directions to be made to ensure parties are properly prepared and have access to the documents and evidence they need before the Arbitration commences.
The Chief Justice of the Family Court, The Honourable William Alstergreen said: “The Courts have long supported the use of alternative dispute resolution as a quicker and more affordable option for litigants to resolve their disputes, rather than continuing to trial."
For more information on arbitration, here's an article I wrote regarding Arbitration and Family Law.
If you and your former spouse are having difficulty coming to an agreement following separation, Arbitration may be an option rather than pursuing drawn out and costly litigation.
Contact our Family Law experts to discuss whether this is the best option for your individual situation on 1800 650 656 in Bathurst, Lithgow, and Oberon. We’re here to help!
Lauren Ryan | Family Law Solicitor