What is Family Arbitration?

Arbitration is an option for separating couples who cannot agree the financial arrangements between them, but don't want to go to court.  Instead of applying to court for a Judge to make decisions, you can agree to appoint a family arbitrator, who will consider your case, and then making a binding decision.

Once you agree to arbitration, the arbitrator has the power to make a binding decision, even if one or other party doesn't like it.  Therefore, once you've appointed an arbitrator, you should be guaranteed an outcome to your case. 



  • A way of getting a legally binding and impartial decision without going to court
  • Quicker than court
  • You can choose a procedure that suits your case.
  • You can choose your arbitrator, so you can be sure that they will be expert in family law
  • the Arbitrator will have  time  to deal with your case in an efficient and timely manner
  • You can fix the timetable to fit in around your own commitments
  • You share the costs between you


  • You will have to pay the arbitrator, as well as paying your solicitors
  • The arbitrator can only decide financial issues, and cannot make decisions about the arrangements for the care of your children


The arbitrator's costs are usually charged at an hourly rate, so the total costs will depend on the circumstances of your case.  However, arbitration may well be cheaper than the court process, as you can choose a streamlined procedure to suit your needs.

Is Legal Aid available?

No - but legal aid will not be available for any financial issues from April 2013

Time Scale?

Time for the process to complete is between 1 month and 6 months depending on the issues involved in your case

Who can provide this service

Hawkins Family Law
Purcells LLP
Sheddon Family Law