Arbitral Awards: A Magnetic Factor of Determinative Importance – Yet Not to Be Rubber-Stamped?
3 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2014 Last revised: 21 Mar 2015
Date Written: April 14, 2014
The High Court’s decision in S v S  EWHC 7 (Fam) (S) is the first to give judicial endorsement to the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators’ (IFLA) scheme for parties to use arbitration to resolve the financial consequences of marriage and civil partnership breakdown. The significance of the decision extends beyond the case itself. Sir James Munby P’s judgment is important in four respects: first, he guides courts as to the process to adopt when considering applications made in the context of arbitral awards; second, he makes critical suggestions for future procedural innovations and rule changes; third, he directs courts as to how to weigh the substantive content of arbitral awards against section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 when hearing applications for consent orders and attempts to resile from the arbitral award; fourth, he comments on autonomy as the underlying theoretical basis for this substantive approach to arbitral awards.
Keywords: s25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, consent orders, arbitration, autonomy, nuptial agreements
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