The High Court upholds Family Arbitration Award

On 24 February 2016 in the case of DB v DLJ [2016] EWHC 324 Mr Justice Mostyn rejected a Wife's arguments and confirmed division of assets as determined by a Family Law Arbitrator. 

The Parties chose to appoint a Family Law Arbitrator to decide how their assets should be divided rather than issue Court Proceedings.  Under the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators Scheme (IFLA) they agreed to accept the Arbitrator's Award and thereafter confirm it by way of Consent Order.  Following receipt of the Award the wife refused to agree the Consent Order and sought to challenge the Arbitration Award.  Her challenge was rejected on all counts.  The Wife's arguments did not come within the limited grounds of appeal set out in the 1996 Arbitration Act, nor had evidence emerged after the award was made that would enable the Court to set it aside on the basis of mistake or supervening event.   The judiciary appear to support the Arbitration process as an alternative method of determination of financial claims arising on divorce and if this route is chosen by the Parties the Award will be upheld. The Court will not allow a dis-satisfied Party the opportunity to use the Court to seek a potential second bite of the cherry.  This decision should allay fears that determination of a case by a Family Arbitrator has less standing than determination by a Judge.

Family Arbitration is available under the IFLA Scheme to resolve financial claims on divorce and separation - the process can be tailor made to the Parties circumstances making it quicker and cheaper and unless challenged in the Court is completely private and confidential.  The law applied by the Arbitrator is exactly the same as the law that will be applied in Court.

For more information about Family Law Arbitration please contact Sheridan Ball (Head of the Family Team) on 01482 337361 or

Posted on: 04/03/2016

This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.

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