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Arbitration as an Alternate to Your Property Matter

Arbitration as an Alternate to Your Property Matter

Last week, Allysha Merrett, Associate at Watts McCray Lawyers wrote about the benefits of Mediation for Family Law. Mediation is a fantastic and efficient method of Dispute Resolution.

This week, Director, Beth Agar discusses Arbitration as an alternate to your property matter being determined by a Judge and the benefits of Arbitration.

What is Arbitration?

Arbitration, as defined by the Family Law Act 1975 is a process (other than the judicial process) in which parties to a dispute present arguments and evidence to an Arbitrator, who makes a determination to resolve the dispute.

In practice:

Arbitration as an Alternate to Your Property Matter

  • Arbitration allows the parties to select a private trained Arbitrator, often a family lawyer or barrister to determine their property case;
  • The parties select a day (or days) for the Arbitration to take place. This can fit around special occasions and availability of the Barrister they want to represent them, Arbitration can take place as soon as the parties are ready;
  • The parties select the venue they wish to hold the Arbitration, this can be a solicitors office or a third party neutral venue, depending on the parties preference;
  • The Arbitration runs in a very similar way to a Court Hearing, although sometimes with less formality;
  • The parties will file Affidavits, Financial Statements and evidence in advance of the Arbitration;
  • The Arbitrator will hear the evidence of the parties and reserve the matter for Judgment. The Arbitrator will normally agree to hand down their award within 28 days of the final day of Arbitration;
  • Once an award has been handed down, either party can apply to the Court to register the award, subject to no objection being raised, the Award becomes an Order of the Court and is enforceable in the same way as a Court Order.

 

Arbitration is becoming more popular

prenuptial agreement - binding financial agreementArbitration has been available in Australia for many years, however in recent years; there has been a clear trend to the parties selecting Arbitration rather than waiting for the matter to be determined by the Court.

One of the key benefits to Arbitration is the freedom to manage your own process, by selecting the Arbitrator, selecting the dates and venue, such choice is otherwise impossible in the normal Court system.

It is not uncommon for a property matter to be litigated for many years before a final hearing can take place, in comparison Arbitration can happen as quickly as the parties can prepare and allows the family to move on without the stress and ongoing cost of Arbitration.

We have a number of experienced Arbitrators at Watts McCray Lawyers including Maurice Edwards, Chris Dunn and Justin Dowd.

We have experience representing clients at Arbitration and have seen the benefits first hand of reaching an early determination via Arbitration. If you have any queries about how Arbitration can achieve an early resolution for you, please contact us for more information.