Family law: Arbitration

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Arbitration is a process (other than the judicial process) in which parties to a financial dispute present arguments and evidence to an independent arbitrator, who makes a determination to resolve the dispute (see section 10L of the Family Law Act 1975).

Parties agree on who is to be appointed as the arbitrator (usually a senior member of the legal profession) and, with the consent of all parties, the Court may make an order referring Part VIII proceedings or Part VIIIAB proceedings (other than proceedings relating to a Part VIIIAB financial agreement) to arbitration.

Parties may also undertake private arbitration (which is arbitration that has not been ordered by the Court) in relation to the following:

  • Part VIII, Part VIIIA and/or, Part VIIIAB proceedings
  • Part VIIIB proceedings or section 106A proceedings
  • any part of such proceedings
  • any matter arising in such proceedings, or
  • a dispute about a matter with respect to which such proceedings could be instituted.

Arbitrators are experienced legal practitioners who are specially trained and accredited in arbitration. Arbitrators must be accredited by Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators (AIFLAM) to be able to conduct family law arbitrations.

A list of arbitrators can be found on the AIFLAM website. The site includes a search function that allows arbitrators to be located by geographical area.

The Court has established a National Arbitration List. Further information is available: