Arbitration, private FDRs (Financial Dispute Resolution) and mediation are forms of alternative dispute resolution which take place outside court and are available at Sinclair Gibson.
A private FDR replicates one stage of the court process (a negotiation type hearing) with both parties attending on a voluntary basis. An experienced legal professional with judicial experience is selected by the parties and paid privately to act as their judge and, with their respective advisors, to assist them in reaching a negotiated settlement. The “judge” cannot impose an outcome on the parties but provides guidance as to what the outcome may be at court, which can be extremely helpful for negotiation.
Arbitration is closer to full court proceedings: both sides enter into an agreement under which they appoint an arbitrator to adjudicate between them on their dispute, and they are bound by the decision which the tribunal makes.
Mediation is a voluntary process whereby both parties attend a confidential meeting to explore and discuss arrangements for finances and/or children with the help of a mediator. It is a popular alternative for resolving the key issues on separation outside of the court process and must be considered before most court proceedings are issued in any event. While the mediator cannot give legal advice, as they remain impartial throughout the process, they will give legal and practical information and signpost the parties when legal advice should be sought from their respective legal representatives. Once a proposal is reached in mediation, the mediator will draw up a ‘memorandum of understanding’ (for finances) for the parties to take to their lawyers to discuss and ultimately translate into a binding order to be approved by the Court. Where the mediation relates to children matters, the mediator will draw up what is known as a ‘parenting plan’. Mediation allows the parties to work together constructively in a safe space to reach proposals that work for them and their family.
There are a number of benefits to using a private FDR, arbitration or mediation, as opposed to going to court:
- The process is, in most cases, considerably cheaper than full blown litigation.
- It is much faster than going to court.
- The same person deals with the case from start to finish.
- Unlike court, you can choose who will deal with your case.
- It is entirely confidential.
The family department offers private FDR, arbitration and mediation services.
Kathryn Peat is, an IFLA accredited arbitrator, and a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. In addition, Kathryn has over 30 years of experience as a family lawyer and 25 years’ experience as a part-time judge, sitting in family, civil and crime. Kathryn Peat also conducts private FDRs.
Xanthy Papageorgiou is a Resolution trained mediator registered with the Family Mediation Council. She mediates financial and/or children matters.
We have facilities for hosting multi-party FDRs and arbitrations in person and via video conferencing. We are also able to offer mediation services face-to-face or via video conferencing.
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“Sinclair Gibson are excellent at private client matters. They provide a great boutique service.”
Chambers HNW 2021