Arbitration

What is Arbitration?

Arbitration is an alternative process to Court proceedings, which you and your former partner can engage in by agreement, that still involves an independent party (an Arbitrator rather than a Judge) making a binding decision in relation to how your property should be divided.

The parties must agree on the appointment of an Arbitrator. The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia can also make an Order to appoint an Arbitrator with the consent of the parties.

Is my matter suitable for Arbitration?

Financial or property disputes between married or de facto couples can be arbitrated. This includes disputes regarding the transfer of property, division of superannuation and repayment of debt.

Children’s issues cannot be arbitrated.

Is an Arbitral Award binding?

The decision made by the arbitrator is called an ‘arbitral award’. Once the award is registered with the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, it is binding and enforceable. There are limited grounds for challenging or setting aside an arbitral award, such as in circumstances where an error of law has been made.

What are the Advantages of Arbitration?

Arbitration is flexible and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of the parties involved. Proceedings are confidential, which means the details of the dispute and the outcome are not made public. This is useful in sensitive matters where privacy is paramount to the parties involved.

The Arbitration process is usually quicker and less expensive than proceedings in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, as there are fewer procedural requirements, and the parties can avoid other costs associated with litigation.

Arbitrators are senior members of the legal profession and have specialist knowledge.

Our Arbitrator – Judy Stewart

Our Director Judy Stewart is an Accredited Family Law Specialist and AIFLAM Registered Family Law Arbitrator. After an earlier career in social work, Judy has practised exclusively in Family Law since 2003.

Since 2017, Judy has been recommended as a Leading Family and Divorce Lawyer on the Doyle’s annual list of recommended lawyers. Judy is also a nationally accredited mediator and registered family dispute resolution practitioner, well-known for her pragmatic, organised and responsive approach.

Our Process

The Preliminary Conference is the first step of the Arbitration process. The parties may attend the Preliminary Conference in person at our office, by telephone or Teams Meeting link. Our rooms are available at no additional charge. The Preliminary Conference addresses various procedural matters, including the issues in dispute and whether a Hearing is required. The parties should allow approximately one hour for the Preliminary Conference.

Once the Preliminary Conference has occurred, the matter may proceed to a Hearing where each party will be cross-examined, and submissions are heard. Alternatively, the parties may choose to have their matter determined by Judy “on the papers” and dispense with a Hearing.

Judy will then provide the parties with an award and a copy of the written reasons for the determination.

Our friendly staff can assist with arranging arbitration. Please select a convenient date for your Preliminary Conference via our Bookings page.

Contact us if you have any questions in relation to Arbitration or wish to organise Arbitration with our office.

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Judy Stewart

Judy Stewart

Accredited Family Law Specialist