What you need to do

Getting Started

This is what you have to do and what will happen for you

  1. First, you will need to agree with the person that you are in a dispute with to come to us to resolve the dispute. Check with us if you are not sure whether we cover the problem that you have.
  2. You will need an application form ARB1CS. You can get one here. On this form you ask to have the particular arbitrator that you have chosen or you can ask The Institute of Family Arbitrators (IFLA) to choose one for you. You have to get your Police National Computer record from the Disclosure and Barring Service and give details of anything that could be a risk to anyone involved in the arbitration or the children. This takes up to 14 days and costs £25. You can do it online at www.disclosurescotland.co.uk and select Basic Disclosure. Although it says Scotland in the name it deals with applications from people living in England and Wales as well.
  3. You’ll each have to fill out the form and send it by email to info@ifla.org.uk. Alternatively, you can post it to this address:

    IFLAc/o Resolution
    PO Box 302
    BR6 8QX

    The contact details are 01689 820272. The email address is info@ifla.org.uk.
  4. IFLA will contact us asking whether we can act as your arbitrator, which of course we will do if we can.
  5. We will then contact you to see whether you are able to agree to the terms of the appointment. You will understand that all communications with us by one side have to be copied to the other side so as to be fair to both sides.
  6. If we all agree the terms, then the chosen arbitrator will accept the appointment and the arbitration can proceed. It will be under the IFLA Rules and the Arbitration Act 1996.
  7. What comes next is a planning meeting with both sides, their legal representatives and the arbitrator together. It might be possible to have this by telephone, video link or by documents only. We will discuss what procedure is best for your hearing.
  8.  At or shortly after the planning meeting, the arbitrator will give directions to you about how the case will be dealt with. These might include a direction that each party sends him or her a statement setting out what they want to say on the issues, a direction about what documents have to be produced, whether and which experts are to be used, arrangements for the main hearing, and time limits for the questioning of witnesses and the presentation of the case. A date, time and place for the main hearing which is convenient for everyone will be set.
  9. Because the arbitrator will be considering your case very carefully, he or she will then take about a week or so to make the decision and give full written reasons, although it may be quicker. He or she will let you know if it’s going to take longer than a week and why. The reasons will not be just a few lines and will read like a court Judgment.
  10. Once you have settled the arbitrator’s fee and arbitration expenses, the decision and detailed reasons will be sent out to you. Fees and expenses may be agreed to be paid at an earlier stage in the arbitration.
  11. When the arbitration has been completed, the last thing that you will be expected to do is to make a simple application to the Family Court for a formal court order in the same terms as ordered by the arbitrator. That can be used for any enforcement that may become necessary.