Alternatives to Court

We will resolve your case without recourse to the courts wherever possible.

We are specialists in what is known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

As experienced lawyers, we will always work  to resolve your case swiftly, cost effectively and conclude it without going to court if possible. We are all members of Resolution and committed to adopting constructive methods to resolve disputes.

Beyond this core commitment, there are formal processes which can resolve disputes without recourse to the court. The two main routes are mediation and arbitration. We can advise you on what these processes involve, whether they are appropriate for your case and which Is likely to achieve the best outcome for you.  


Mediation is a positive tool to help parties make their own informed decisions, rather than having decisions imposed on them by the court.  

A Mediator is a neutral third party, usually a barrister or solicitor with extensive family law experience. You and your partner work with a mediator to resolve specific points of dispute. The mediator encourages constructive discussion & helps you reach a consensual settlement. They do not provide legal advice to either party.  

Mediations are usually structured over a series of meetings. Mediation can help resolve most disputes including financial arrangements on divorce/separation, arrangements concerning children and disputes between cohabitants.

If we are already providing legal advice, we can refer you to the right mediator to help resolve your particular dispute(s). We will provide legal advice and support throughout the process.

Joe and Anne are both qualified to act as mediators. They accept referrals from solicitors and direct approaches from potential clients.

The Benefits of Mediation

  • Mediation can lead to creative, flexibly tailored outcomes which a court might not impose.  
  • The process is completely confidential, which promotes discussions and concessions which might not come through court proceedings.
  • You and your partner control the timetable. In the majority of cases, it is quicker (and far cheaper) than going to court.  
  • You can express your own opinions rather than being reliant on your lawyer putting your case in court.
  • Preparation and disclosure requirements in mediation are simpler and easier than proceeding through the courts.


Arbitration enables couples, whether married or not, to resolve disputes that they have not be able to agree through mediation or solicitor negotiation. Parties often agree to withdraw from court proceedings and to arbitrate to ensure a final and binding decision is made in good time and in experienced hands (arbitrators are all experienced barristers or solicitors).

Arbitration can be used for the entire process or to resolve specific issues which may be preventing overall settlement of the case. An arbitrator can be appointed to resolve financial disputes and disputes concerning most children matters, although it does not cover disputes involving local authorities or cross–border issues (like international relocation).

The process is simple. You agree to appoint an arbitrator (or one is chosen by the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators) to adjudicate on the points in dispute and impose a solution, known as an “award”. An award will be binding in the same way as a court order.

Joe is a trained arbitrator.

The Benefits of Arbitration

  • It makes sense to avoid going to court where possible, which can be emotionally and financially draining.
  • Arbitration is a flexible, versatile and cost effective process of dispute resolution.
  • The process is often much quicker than going to court and you control the it, setting the timetable & goals.
  • Confidentiality can be maintained as the proceedings are held entirely in private.
  • You have input and control over the arbitrator who can remain consistent throughout the matter. 
  • The arbitrator has the time to fully prepare and read the documents in the case, unlike many judges who are constrained by heavy court lists.

There is more on the routes open to you on Resolution’s website or you can talk to any of us and we can explain the options.

You can find out more about your specific Alternatives to Court issues with this free online assessment which can help you understand where you stand before you contact a lawyer.