On 13th June, Julie Stather spoke to the members of East and West Sussex Resolution at their annual dispute resolution day at Buxted Park. Her topic of children arbitration included an outline of the scheme and concluded with a take on Barack Obama’s ‘yes we can’ speech, looking to dispel myths about children arbitration and illustrate why it’s benefits for clients and legal representatives alike.

Read a snippet of her speech below:

We can’t appeal

Yes we can. Under s68 Arbitration Act 1996 where there is a “serious irregularity” and under s69 Arbitration Act 1996 on a point of law.

We can’t get a binding decision

Yes we can. The parties agree to be bound by the determination – that forms part of the ARB1CS form.

We can’t know for sure whether the arbitrator is sufficiently experienced

Yes we can. Arbitrators are experienced family lawyers who are trained and regulated by the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators.

We can’t say that arbitration will be less stressful than going to court

Yes we can. Arbitration takes place in private offices with private conference rooms and no waiting around to start      your case. No other cases will be listed on that day. Arbitration is a Rolls Royce streamlined process.

We can’t afford it

Yes we can. Fixed fees are offered for arbitrations and these can be as low as £750 plus VAT for a written determination of a simple issue such as holiday contact.

We can’t say that arbitration is easier to arrange than court proceedings

Yes we can. There is a short and simple application form to be sent to IFLA, clerks are available to list the case at your convenience, and any interim queries can be dealt with by emailing the arbitrator directly.

We won’t be able to enforce the decision

Yes we can. The Determination will be made into a court order by the filing of a simple consent order application which will be dealt with as box work.

You can’t have experts in arbitration

Yes we can. S37 of the Arbitration Act 1996 allows the for instruction of experts if that expert’s evidence is thought to be helpful or desirable. The necessary test does not apply.

We can’t put the wishes of the children before the court

Yes we can! The parties can agree to the instruction of an independent social worker and if they do not agree, the arbitrator can direct the instruction if their evidence will help in determining the issues.


If you have any queries about the scheme, please contact our clerks and visit our arbitration page here.