Family lawyer guidance for arbitration in family disputes

8th March 2015 by


Couples, and consequently their family lawyers, who are involved in protracted or acrimonious disputes arising from relationship breakdown may benefit from the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators (IFLA) arbitration scheme, set up in 2012, for such circumstances.

The IFLA is a non-profit making group formed by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), the Family Law Bar Association, and the family lawyers’ group Resolution, in association with the Centre for Child and Family Law Reform.

The scheme provides a panel of specially-trained family lawyers and divorce solicitors who are able to conduct family arbitration. At its inception, the scheme attracted members of the retired judiciary and many highly experienced practitioners from across the country.

It is hoped that family lawyers in Brighton, London and throughout England and Wales will take up the call to become panel members.

Why choose arbitration?

When a couple cannot agree on the particulars of divorce and separation agreements, arbitration can be used to help negotiate outcomes to the dispute. The parties agree to appoint suitable qualified arbitrators, such as those on the IFLA panel, to resolve the dispute and to determine an award under English and Welsh law.

What disputes does it cover?

IFLA arbitration handles financial and property disputes arising from divorce, relationship breakdown and family dispute. It pertains to, but is not limited to:

  • Matrimonial Causes Act 1973
  • Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975
  • Part III Matrimonial Finance and Property Act 1984
  • Sch. 1 Children Act 1989
  • Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996
  • Civil Partnership Act 2004
  • Married Women’s Property Act 1882

However, IFLA arbitration will not deal with the following:

  • The liberty of individuals
  • The legal status of individuals or of their relationship
  • Arrangements for children (except for financial arrangements)
  • Bankruptcy or insolvency
  • State and welfare benefits
  • Jurisdiction or stay cases
  • Issues regarding recognition of a foreign marriage or divorce
  • Decisions from sharia councils or other similar bodies
  • Persons or organisations not party to the arbitration proceedings

Further details of the IFLA arbitration scheme can be found on the IFLA website.

Healys is here to help

If you are not sure whether arbitration would suit your circumstances, or would like to find out more about alternative methods for resolving family law disputes, such as mediation and collaborative law, why not talk to the team at Healys.

Our experienced family lawyers in Brighton and London have a wealth of experience and can help you decide which methods may be beneficial for your own situation.

To contact a family lawyer in Brighton please call 01273 685 888 or email an enquiry to

Alternatively the family law team in London can be reached on 020 7822 4000. We look forward to helping you.