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The family team at David Gray is fully operational and working from home to help and advise you on all areas of family law including family court work, both ongoing and emergency, care proceedings, child support, financial settlements, negotiation, collaborative practice and mediation. Please contact us by email or call Louise Law on 0191 243 8163.


Arbitration is a way of resolving disputes while staying out of court, it is essentially a private court where legally binding decisions can be made.

Arbitration in Family Law can resolve disputes including:

  • Financial Matters – property, pensions, maintenance and financial provision for children
  • Children Matters – childcare arrangements, where they should live, frequency and length of contact and general upbringing decisions

By using Arbitration it is possible to retain more control over the process and it can be a flexible, more cost effective route. As the Court system becomes increasingly overused it can be quicker to reach a resolution through Arbitration. In addition, the hearings are private and take place at a convenient date, time and place for all parties; we have comfortable offices in Newcastle city centre and South Shields.

Arbitration is a fairly new area of English Law in use since 2012. At David Gray Solicitors we have two qualified Arbitrators – Elspeth Thomson (Children) and Lucy Mead (Finance) who are members of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.


This leaflet from the Forum of Family Arbitrators provides useful background information. If you have any queries or wish to make an appointment please contact Louise Law on 0191 243 8163.


What is Arbitration?

Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution in which parties appoint an arbitrator, who will make a decision that will be final and binding between them. It is an alternative to applying to court. Arbitration can only take place if both parties agree to it.

What can Arbitration cover?

Family Arbitration is separated into two schemes; Finance Scheme and Children Scheme. The Finance Scheme deals with financial and property disputes between separating parties. You can
use the arbitrator for the whole process or just parts of it that you are stuck on. The Children Scheme deals with issues between parents or other people holding parental responsibility or where issues relate to a child’s present or future welfare. Issues in dispute could be, contact or living arrangements or where a child should got to school. It does not deal with taking children abroad.

Who makes the final decision?

Arbitration is intended to be binding. When you agree to arbitration you are agreeing to follow the arbitrators decision.
At the end of the arbitration you will receive a decision. The arbitration will be respected by the Court and it will be made an Order of the Court upon request You should be aware that when entering the process an appeal of the decision is only possible if there has been a serious irregularity or an error of law.

What are the benefits of Arbitration?

  • Speed. You can fix a date for your arbitration almost immediately.
  • Confidentially. Only people everyone agrees to are entitled to attend so you can keep things out of the public eye
  • Bespoke Service. Arbitration can be tailored to both parties needs, this includes choosing your arbitrator, location, time and the date of meetings.

The team specialising in this area of work

  • Partner