Arbitration scheme to resolve private children disputes

Arbitration scheme to resolve private children disputes

11 February 2016

By Chloe Smith

Private family law disputes involving children will soon be eligible for resolution through arbitration under a scheme set up by the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators (IFLA).

The scheme, which will run from July, will allow couples to resolve disputes concerning the exercise of parental responsibility and other private law issues about child welfare.

Previously, divorcing couples were able to resolve disputes relating only to finance or property through arbitration. The scheme will be run by the IFLA, a joint venture by the Family Law Bar Association, family lawyers’ group Resolution and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Suzanne Kingston […], a partner at Withers who has been helping develop the scheme, told the Gazette that its launch follows strong judicial support and encouragement for the use of arbitration in family cases.

In a judgment handed down in 2014, the president of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, approved an award made through arbitration. In his judgment he said: ‘There is no conceptual difference between the parties making an agreement and agreeing to give an arbitrator the power to make the decision for them.’

Kingston said: ‘We felt it was appropriate to launch the scheme now we have the critical mass in relation to the number of financial arbitrators.’

She said that the scheme would cover anything in relation to child arrangements, including internal relocations, with the potential of extending this to external relocations in Hague Convention countries.

She explained that the advantage of arbitration in this area is that it is speedier than the court system, and is completely confidential.

Tony Roe, a solicitor and family law arbitrator from Tony Roe Solicitors, said the confidential nature of arbitration means it is likely to appeal to high-profile individuals and those in the public eye with family law issues.

He added: ‘The existing scheme has already gained great momentum and positive comment among the judiciary. […] The new children scheme has been long awaited and is the logical next step for family arbitration.’

Rules for the scheme are now being finalised and a series of training events is in place for both existing financial arbitrators and practitioners who have substantial experience in children work.

Source:  The Law Society Gazette, 11 February 2016

Japan still carries child abduction “black hole” stigma

In an article just before Christmas in The Japan Times, the head of Child Abduction Recovery International, highlights the fact that despite the coming into force of the Hague Convention in Japan, now almost two years ago, child abduction remains prevalent.  He makes the point that Japan remains in “the Dark Ages” and that even where judges – invariably inexperienced in matters of international parental child abduction – intervene a return order can often “mean nothing” in that decisions are either not enforced or flouted.  Concerns over Japan’s approach extends not just to the judicial branch but to the legal profession where lawyers when faced with a client who has been ordered to return a child have been known to suggest that the client absconds, possibly abroad, for a period of time meaning that, if the case were to ever return to court, the child’s country of habitual residence may no longer be regarded as the country where the abduction occurred in.  When the judiciary and legal profession almost connive to undermine the Hague Convention it is little wonder that Japan is still seen as a “black hole” when it comes to parental child abduction.  It is not something that is seen as remotely unacceptable.  Thankfully, in the UK the judiciary does take these issues more seriously – it could hardly take them less seriously.  In this regard I am tomorrow attending the 1 King’s Bench Walk Chambers Annual Child Abduction Conference.  I attended the same event last year and will write a post about the event in February.

Happy New Year

Hello Hugo

My earliest memory of London is Waterloo Station, the place where I first arrived in the city on a family visit in the 1980s.  It serves communities in the south eastern part of England and south west London.  It hasn’t changed all that much over the years. One thing that has changed is that a balcony level overlooking the concourse has recently been constructed.  I had reason to pass through the station in early December 2015 and, with no particular reason, decided to take the escalator up to the balcony.  Once I reached the top of the escalator I came across a wonderful gallery comprising of photographs of different parts of the UK.  I took photographs of the ones I liked the most and share these with you below to mark the turn of the year.  Best wishes for the year 2016.

Waterloo 1Waterloo 2Waterloo 3Waterloo 4Waterloo 5Waterloo 6Waterloo 7Waterloo 8Waterloo 9Waterloo 10Waterloo 11Waterloo 12Waterloo 13Waterloo 14Waterloo 15Waterloo 16Waterloo 17Waterloo 18Waterloo 19Waterloo 20

Happy Christmas 2015

Happy Christmas!

Here’s hoping that you have a day filled with joy and excitement on Christmas Day  tomorrow.

Everything has been a mad rush workwise  during December as there have been lots of things that I have had to get done by Christmas meaning that I am tired.  Looking forward to getting some rest between Christmas and the New Year.

Below are photographs of what I sent over to you for Christmas this year.  I got it all in the post on the last UK-Asia posting day for Christmas so it all ought to have reached you by now.

Christmas gifts 2015 (1)

Christmas gifts 2015 (2)

Christmas gifts 2015 (3)

Christmas gifts 2015 - postal receipt

I will post a further message to you around New Year time.