Arbitrator's Decision Will Bind in Financial Settlements

When a divorce leads to arbitration proceedings, which is not uncommon where the financial settlement is difficult to negotiate, the decision of the arbitrator can only be overturned by the court in exceptional circumstances, a leading judge has ruled.

In considering an application for an arbitrator's decision to be set aside, the President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, has ruled that where a case has been decided under the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators' scheme, it can 'only be in the rarest of cases' that the judge should not approve the decision of the arbitrator.

The judge did stress the necessity for the parties to arbitration proceedings who wish to be bound by the decision to follow the appropriate procedure.

The decision will be seen as binding by Family Court judges, who will resist applications to alter a decision made by an arbitrator unless it was based on incomplete or incorrect evidence.

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