Family arbitration is relatively new. Barbara Corbett is the only family arbitrator in Jersey. She is a member of the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators. While Barbara can arbitrate for people who are not clients of Corbett Le Quesne, membership of IFLA ensures that she has access to a wide circle of family arbitrators in London and beyond who will be able to independently arbitrate cases involving Corbett Le Quesne clients.
Arbitration is a little like a private court. The parties choose their arbitrator, ensuring it is someone with the necessary experience and expertise for their particular case. The date and venue are also arranged by the parties’ lawyers. This means it can be very flexible, fitting round the availability of the parties, sitting in the evening and at weekends if desired as well as during the week. The process is less formal than court proceedings but nevertheless the parties are represented by their lawyers who put their case for them. The arbitrator hears evidence and asks questions in order to have sufficient information to reach a decision. Then the arbitrator makes his or her decision and provides a written “arbitral award” setting out what has been determined. The parties’ lawyers (or the arbitrator) then turn the award into a consent order for approval by the judge in the Family Court. Arbitration results in a final decision which mediation and negotiation by lawyers may not. It is flexible and tailored to the needs of the parties.