How Does it Work
Arbitration allows for the resolution of disputes outside of the Court, through a process that is similar to the Court process. It is essentially a “private court,” in which the parties hire an “arbitrator” and agree to be bound by his or her decision in relation to their Family Law issues. The arbitrator is jointly selected by the parties and must be certified by the ADR Institute of Ontario. In Family Law cases, the arbitrator is generally a seasoned family lawyer. As is the case in Court, the arbitrator will make a decision after receiving evidence and hearing arguments from both parties. As is the case in Court, both parties are generally represented by skilled litigation lawyers.
Why It is a Good Choice
Every effort should be made to settle your Family Law issues before you consider Arbitration or Court. However, where settlement is not possible, Arbitration can be a more time-efficient and cost-effective method of obtaining a decision that is imposed by a third party, than is Court. Arbitration can avoid the lengthy wait times and multiple, costly attendances generally involved in the Court process. It can streamline some of the procedural and evidentiary requirements of the Court process. A specialist arbitrator may also be able to provide a more skilled assessment of your Family Law issues than a generalist judge of the Court.
Participation & Results
Participation in arbitration is voluntary. The participants will sign an Arbitration Agreement that identifies their commitment to the process and its legally binding requirements. A decision of the arbitrator is binding and can be enforced by the Court. In certain limited circumstances, the decision of an arbitrator can be appealed to the Court. However, strict and narrow legal requirements must be met before a Court will interfere with such a decision.