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  • Writer's pictureAlison Neville

Arbitration and Family Law

Arbitration and Family Law

It is well known that the Family Courts are suffering from enormous delays. As at today, there is approximately a two year wait for hearing dates in most registries.

As an alternative to waiting for a Hearing date before a Judge to make a decision in relation to your property settlement you can agree with your spouse to have your matter determined at Arbitration instead. Arbitration is not available for all matters, it is for property matters only where all assets have been valued or there is an agreed valuation.

After proceedings have commenced in the Federal Circuit or Family Court and before the start of the final hearing, the parties may agree to attend Arbitration. An Arbitrator is a legal practitioner accredited in Arbitration. The parties reach an agreement with the Arbitrator to determine how the matter will be conducted i.e is there any further material to file, will the parties be required for cross examination or will a decision be made on written evidence only.

A date for the Arbitration hearing is allocated and a written award is prepared within one month of the hearing and then registered with the Court.

The benefits:

  • Arbitration is faster. You are not waiting for a time in a Judge’s busy diary.

  • An Arbitration is not held in a public courtroom so you have more privacy that the Court system which is open to public viewing.

  • The property and business valuations will remain current in the time it takes to reach arbitration as opposed to having to update valuations in the months prior to the Hearing date in two years time.

  • The parties can have the award “reviewed” if there has been an error of law or unreasonable prejudice.

If you would like further information about Arbitration and how it may work for you, please telephone Alison Neville on (02) 6393 9200 or email

*Subject to individual circumstances. This is general information only.


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