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Launch of Family Law arbitration scheme marked by IFLA event

Lord Falconer applauds the launch of IFLA scheme

On Monday 26 March 2012 the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators (IFLA) marked the launch of the new Family Law Arbitration Scheme at an evening reception at the Inner Temple, which was addressed by the former Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer of Thoroton.

The Scheme and the IFLA is the result of collaboration between the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), Family Law Bar Association (FLBA), Resolution, and the Centre for Child and Family Law Reform (CCFLR).

In 2012, IFLA launched a scheme to enable family disputes to be resolved by arbitration. Arbitration under the scheme is conducted under the family arbitration Rules which have been developed by IFLA for the scheme. This means divorcing couples can agree to appoint their own arbitrator, or have the IFLA select one for them from its panel of approved arbitrators.

The scheme covers: financial disputes arising from divorce; claims on inheritance from a child, spouse etc; financial claims made in England and Wales after a divorce abroad; claims for child maintenance between unmarried parents; disputes about ownership of a property between cohabiting couples and civil partnership financial claims. Disputes will be resolved exclusively by applying the laws of England and Wales, in the same way as the Family Courts.

Lord Falconer, who chairs the IFLA, said:

"Arbitration has a long history in certain areas. For example, many commercial and construction contracts provide for dispute resolution in this way. Arbitration in family law will be another tool in the box of methods of alternative dispute resolution. At a time when there is a need to find solutions in family disputes outside the courtroom, it is a logical next step to offer arbitration as another means of doing so."

IFLA developed the arbitration scheme to enable parties to resolve financial disputes more quickly, cheaply and in a more flexible and less formal setting than a court room. It is also expected to save court resources and reduce pressure on the already stretched family courts.