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What is Arbitration?

More and more parties are choosing to use Arbitration to resolve their property division matters – instead of the Family Law Courts. But what is it and how does it work?

Arbitration is essentially a private Court – the parties appoint an independent Arbitrator and then present their evidence and arguments, and the Arbitrator determines the dispute. The advantage is that it can all occur a lot quicker than the Court process can, thus allowing parties to be through to resolution a lot faster.

The Arbitration often occurs in a Dispute Resolution facility – and the Arbitrator is usually a Barrister or a retired Judge; someone with significant experience in family law matters.

The Family Law Act and the Federal Circuit and Family Court Rules make provision for how the Arbitration will occur – and for the registration of the Arbitration award with the Court, much the same as any other Order of the Court.

In the recent case of Wright & Rebane [2021], Justice Wilson said “family law Arbitrations have in recent times assumed mainstream acceptance as a cost effective and time efficient method of resolving family law property disputes, and to do so in a manner that takes the litigation out of the overburdened lists of cases awaiting trial before Judges.” 

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