The benefits of arbitration over going to court

With the family courts overwhelmed with a backlog of cases, we have recently used arbitration to help one family resolve their issues around child contact issues. This has helped them to save time, money and added stress.

While many separating couples use mediation and collaborative law to resolve their disputes, arbitration is often overlooked. The result of arbitration proceedings has the same binding legality of the courts but with the added benefits of reduced delays, cost, flexibility, and privacy. Here we discuss these in more detail.

What is arbitration?

At its simplest, arbitration involves appointing an appropriate private judge, chosen according to the complexities of the specific issue in dispute. The judge/arbitrator hears the evidence from both parties involved in the dispute, along with any relevant experts, before making a legally binding ruling on the matter.

What are the benefits of arbitration?

Reduced delays

To have an issue decided by the courts, a court application must be made. With the current pressure on the family courts who are dealing with a huge backlog of cases, some issues can take over a year to reach a resolution. This keeps couples and families in an awful sense of limbo and unable to move on with their lives.

With arbitration, the couple in dispute can set the pace. Once they have chosen and agreed on an arbitrator, a hearing date can be decided to suit all parties.


While those in dispute will need to pay the arbitrator’s fees, this will be considerably less than proceeding with a court application.


The arbitration process gives those in dispute the flexibility and control over what the arbitrator makes a ruling on. For example, if you have agreed on everything except the arrangements for children or the share of pension funds, you can specifically just get a ruling on these matters only. When a dispute goes to court, all the issues involved in family breakdown will be considered.


By avoiding a public court hearing, the arbitration hearing remains private and takes place in a setting both parties are comfortable with. At Tisshaws, our large conference room has been designed to transform into an arbitration room, akin to a court room.

Legally binding agreement

Once the arbitrator has had a chance to consider all the evidence, their decision, which is called an award, is made into a Consent Order, and submitted to the family courts to conclude the proceedings. Any decision is legally binding, providing a final resolution of the issue in dispute.


With so many benefits, arbitration is an attractive and effective way to resolve family disputes and offers an excellent alternative to going to court. If you would like to discuss arbitration or need help to resolve family issues arising from separation, we offer a no obligation 60-minute initial consultation for £50 (incl. VAT). This will explain the legal situation specific to your circumstances and advise you of your options moving forward.

To arrange a meeting, please contact us on 01444 472700, email or complete the form below.


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