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Understanding arbitration

Family & Relationship Law

Arbitration is an increasingly popular alternative to traditional court proceedings, particularly in disputes relating to property and financial matters.

Below we address the most commonly asked questions from clients about arbitration.

What is arbitration?

Arbitration is a dispute resolution process in which parties can engage an arbitrator to make a determination to resolve their dispute. Unlike litigation through the court system, parties choose their own arbitrator and the process is typically conducted privately.

What does it cost?

Arbitration is typically a more cost-effective dispute resolution process than litigation through the court system. This is because matters can be actioned and heard sooner than through the court system, reducing costs and expenses associated with Court procedures and significant case loads, processing delays and protracted hearings.

What if a dispute is between parties from different states, countries or jurisdictions?

Where parties agree, arbitration may be used domestically and internationally to deal with matters in a specific jurisdiction. Both parties must agree upon the jurisdiction under which the dispute will be arbitrated. During arbitration, parties can also determine the primary language in which the arbitration will be carried out.

How do I select an arbitrator?

There are typically two ways to select an arbitrator - by agreement between disputing parties or through an independent third party on behalf of the disputing parties. Industry bodies such as The Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators (AIFLAM) maintain a list of suitably qualified and experienced practitioners who may preside over a dispute.

Is an arbitration award binding?

Yes, once registered, awards made during arbitration are an enforceable decree of the courts, which means they are binding.

What are the benefits of arbitration?

Arbitration is a popular alternative to court proceedings as it can be personalised to each dispute and/or each issue. It also offers greater privacy and is often faster than going through the court system, which can take anywhere from weeks to years.

The arbitration process is confidential, and disclosures made during the process can be protected.

Parties can select the arbitrator as well as the specific issues they wish to arbitrate and resolve. Parties can also arbitrate a discrete issue, allowing their matter to return to the court for a final determination if they so wish.

The arbitration process can be conducted in person, via video conferencing and via written submission, or as agreed by both parties.

At the conclusion of the process, the arbitrator makes an award, supported by reasons after affording each party procedural fairness. Once registered, the award can only be set aside on a question of law (similar to an Appeal) or on specific legislative grounds.

How does arbitration differ from mediation?

Unlike mediation, parties cannot withdraw once the arbitration process has commenced and the outcome is legally binding.

For more information about the arbitration process, or to speak with an accredited and experienced arbitrator contact a Lander & Rogers representative.

All information on this site is of a general nature only and is not intended to be relied upon as, nor to be a substitute for, specific legal professional advice. No responsibility for the loss occasioned to any person acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material published can be accepted.

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