Family Law Arbitration
Arbitration is a dispute resolution process in which the parties hire a neutral third party, an arbitrator, to make decisions resolving some or all of the legal issues in their dispute. While the job of a mediator is to help people work toward their own resolution of their family law dispute, the arbitrator's job is to act like a judge and make a decision resolving a legal dispute, after hearing the evidence and listening to the arguments of each party.
People who work as arbitrators are usually trained professionals who qualify as "family law dispute resolution professionals" under the Family Law Act, meaning that they have the experience and education required by the Family Law Act Regulation. Lawyers who are "family law arbitrators" are specially accredited to arbitrate family law disputes by the Law Society of British Columbia.
This section provides an introduction to arbitration and discusses when to use arbitration in a family law dispute. It also provides some suggestions about how to find a family law arbitrator.
Like mediation and collaborative negotiation, arbitration is a voluntary process. The parties to a dispute must all agree to use arbitration to resolve their legal dispute. Like those processes, arbitration is also an out-of-court way of resolving problems. However, that's where the similarities between arbitration, mediation and collaborative negotiation end. While the parties to a dispute may have agreed to use arbitration to resolve their dispute, it's the arbitrator who resolves their dispute, not the parties themselves.
Before the new Family Law Act became law in British Columbia, arbitration was rarely used in family law disputes. Arbitration was most frequently used in the context of commercial, labour, and construction disputes. In other places, such as Ontario and Alberta, the arbitration of family law disputes is well-established and has been for some time. The Family Law Act, however, made a number of changes to the law that improved the usefulness of arbitration for family law disputes in British Columbia, and the number of people choosing arbitration over going to court has been increasing as a result.
Arbitration offers a number of advantages for resolving family law problems:
- it allows the parties to hand-pick the person who will make decisions about the issues they cannot agree on, which means that they might pick an arbitrator who is not just an expert family law lawyer, but an expert family law lawyer with special knowledge of a specific issue, like parenting children, tax problems, or property division,
- it allows the parties to pick the rules that will apply to the hearing and the decision-making process,
- arbitration resolves disputes much faster than going to court,
- the arbitration process is private, confidential, and closed to the public, and
- the result of the process is an arbitrator's award that is just as binding as a court order and is enforceable just like a court order.
As well, it's often faster to get a date for an arbitration hearing than it is for a court hearing. Although short trials of two or three days can usually be booked within ten to twelve months, it can take a year or more to get a date for longer trials because the court is so busy. An arbitration hearing can be booked as soon as everyone has free time in their calendars.
People can start arbitration right off the bat, as soon as a legal problem has come up, or they can use it to resolve a court proceeding as an alternative to trial. The result of a successful process of arbitration is an arbitrator's award. If litigation has already started, the award can be turned into an order that the parties agree the court will make, called a consent order. If the parties are married, a consent order may make more sense since they'll usually want an order for their divorce at the same time as they're wrapping everything else up.
The parties can meet with their arbitrator on their own or with their lawyers. As an arbitrator, I always appreciate having the parties' lawyers present. I recognize that having the lawyers at the arbitration hearing costs the parties more money, but the lawyers are intimately familiar with how to write briefs, make legal arguments and present evidence, and arbitration hearings with lawyers are usually much shorter than hearings without lawyers. However, there is no rule that you must have a lawyer represent you in arbitration, just like there's no rule that you must have a lawyer represent you in litigation.
The arbitrator has no stake in how the arbitration turns out. The arbitrator must be neutral and have no bias in favour of either party. Most of the time, the arbitrator should have no special connection — business, personal or otherwise — with either party, and the arbitrator must make sure that all parties are aware of any such special connections before they agree to hire the arbitrator.
Working with "family law arbitrators" under the Family Law Act
An arbitrator who qualifies as a "family dispute resolution professional" under the Family Law Act must meet the requirements set out in the Family Law Act Regulation. Section 5 of the regulation says that:
(1) Only an arbitrator who is qualified as a family dispute resolution professional may conduct an arbitration in relation to a family law dispute.
Lawyers who qualify as family law arbitrators meet the training requirements of, and are accredited by, the Law Society of British Columbia. You can find out if a lawyer is a "family law arbitrator" by looking the lawyer up in the Lawyer Directory on the Law Society's website. The training requirements that professionals other than lawyers must meet to qualify as "family dispute resolution professionals" are set out in section 5(2)(b) of the Family Law Act Regulation, and include:
- being a member in good standing with specific organizations,
- meeting specific educational and experiential requirements, including at least 10 years' experience in family-related practice,
- taking continuing family dispute resolution training, and
- carrying professional liability insurance.
It's important to know that, under section 5(3) of the regulation, people other than lawyers may only arbitrate disputes dealing with parenting children, including contact with a child, and child support. However, they can only deal with child support if:
- all of the children are under 19 years of age,
- none of the payor's income is self-employment income or partnership income,
- the payor's income is less than $150,000 per year, and
- the Child Support Guidelines tables are being used to calculate the basic child support amount.
As well, if children's special or extraordinary expenses are an issue that is to be resolved by an arbitrator who is not a lawyer, section 5(3)(c)(v) says that "the determination of what those expenses are and how they are to be calculated" must be "straightforward."
Section 5 of the regulation imposes two extra duties on arbitrators who are family dispute resolution professionals: they must use written participation agreements; and, they must provide the parties with confirmation that they qualify as family dispute resolution professionals. Section 5(4) says this:
(4) The following practice standards apply to a family dispute resolution professional who wishes to engage in arbitration in relation to a family law dispute:
(a) before initiating arbitration, he or she must enter into a written agreement to arbitrate with the parties to the family law dispute;
(b) before initiating arbitration, he or she must provide written confirmation to the parties to the family law dispute that he or she meets the professional requirements set out in subsection (2).
The arbitration process
These are the steps involved in the basic arbitration process.
- Pick your arbitrator. Your lawyer will have the names of three or four arbitrators they prefer to work with. If you don't have a lawyer, you can look at the membership lists of organizations like the ADR Institute of Canada, although many accredited family law arbitrators may not have decided to spend the money to join those organizations.
- Sign the arbitrator's participation agreement. This is a contract that describes your responsibilities and the responsibilities of your arbitrator, and how the arbitrator will be paid. It also requires you to agree to be bound by the result of the arbitration.
- Prepare for and attend the prehearing conference. This is a meeting during which the parties, their lawyers and the arbitrator will make decisions about how the arbitration will work, including the rules for the hearing, the place and date of the hearing, and the legal issues to be resolved at the hearing.
- Prepare your case. Start working on your case by researching the law and thinking about the evidence you need to prove your case.
- Complete discovery and disclosure. This is a process in which you and the other party or parties will exchange documents and information that are relevant to the legal issues in your dispute, such as income tax returns if child support or spousal support is one of those issues.
- Exchange the documents you're going to use at the hearing. These documents might include written arguments, financial statements or summaries of what your witnesses are going to say.
- Attend the hearing. An arbitration hearing is the equivalent of a trial, but with special rules and shorter processes. Sometimes you may attend by teleconference or videoconference rather than in person.
- Receive the arbitrator's decision. The arbitrator will prepare their decision, and the reasons for their decision, in a written document called an award. Most arbitrators try to get their awards to the parties as soon as possible, but it can sometimes take a long time to finish a decision, especially if the evidence presented at the hearing was unusually complicated.
- Review the award and ask for corrections. You have 30 days after you get the arbitrator's award to ask the arbitrator to correct any typos and other mistakes, and to ask the arbitrator to explain specific parts of their award.
Under section 19.16 of the Family Law Act, an arbitration is over when:
- the arbitrator has delivered their final award and the time to correct the arbitrator's decision has passed;
- the parties agree to end the arbitration; or,
- the arbitrator makes an order that it is "unnecessary or impossible" to continue the arbitration.
There are only two ways you can get your family law problem into arbitration.
First, you might have a family law agreement — like a cohabitation agreement, a marriage agreement, or a separation agreement — which says that any disputes or questions about the agreement, or the subjects the agreement covers, will be resolved through arbitration.
Second, you might agree, after a problem has arisen, that you'll go to arbitration instead of going to court, or instead of another process like mediation or collaborative negotiation. You can even agree to resolve a dispute through arbitration after a court proceeding has started. A lot of people decide to do this when they find out how far away their trial is scheduled to start, and when they find out that there's no guarantee that they'll get a judge who is an expert in resolving family law disputes.
You cannot force someone into arbitration, including by asking for a court order that you go to arbitration. Even though section 224(1) of the Family Law Act says that "a court may make an order to ... require the parties to participate in family dispute resolution," the court will not make an order that someone go to arbitration. Resolving a dispute through arbitration has to be voluntary, either because you've already agreed to use arbitration if a problem comes up or because you've agreed to use arbitration after the problem has come up.
When people agree or are required to arbitrate their dispute, they first pick their arbitrator. The arbitrator you choose should be someone who is an expert in family law, and perhaps even an expert in family law with special knowledge or skills concerning the most important issues in your dispute. You probably want to choose someone who has a lot of experience as an arbitrator, someone who has a good reputation in the legal community, and, most importantly, someone you see as being neutral, fair-minded and unbiased.
After picking the arbitrator, the arbitrator will ask the parties to sign a participation agreement, usually called an arbitration agreement. This agreement does three things. First, it serves as the arbitrator's retainer agreement and describes how the arbitrator will charge for their services and when they will expect to be paid. (You can read more about retainer agreements in the Understanding the Legal System for Family Law Matters chapter, in the You and Your Lawyer section.) Second, it describes the parties' rights and responsibilities in the process, as well as the responsibilities of the arbitrator and the scope of their authority. Third, it identifies the legal issues the arbitrator will address.
The next step is to meet with the arbitrator to discuss the process leading to the arbitration hearing, decide the date and place for the hearing, and pick the rules that will govern the hearing. This meeting is called a prehearing conference, and picking the rules that will govern the hearing is sometimes the most important part of the arbitration process. A lot of the time, the rules that people select are taken from the more important parts of the Supreme Court Family Rules that talk about evidence, experts, and hearing procedures. However, there are lots of other options. People can pick the rules that best suit the circumstances of their children, the nature of their dispute, and the status of their finances. It's important to be as thoughtful as possible in deciding what rules are necessary. Arbitration can look just like going to court, but it doesn't have to. It can be a lot more focused, a lot more efficient, and a lot faster.
How the arbitration process works after the prehearing conference will depend on the rules you've picked.
The basic arbitration process
Most of the time, the next step after the prehearing conference involves exchanging the documents and information that are relevant to the legal issues in the dispute. If child support is an issue, for example, financial statements might be prepared and documents like income tax returns, T4 slips, and paystubs might be exchanged. If property is an issue, you might need tax assessments, purchase documents, mortgage statements, and maybe a professional appraisal of the current value of the property.
You need to think carefully about what sort of documents and information you need. For complicated problems, you might also hire an expert to give an opinion about things like the value of a pension, a tax problem, or the best parenting arrangements for the children. (That last kind of opinion is called a parenting assessment or a section 211 report, and is usually prepared by a psychologist, clinical counsellor, or social worker. You can get more information about reports and assessments in the Children and Parenting after Separation chapter.) You might also need to exchange bank statements, credit card statements and corporate financial statements. The nature of the documents that are important, the extent of the disclosure that is required, and the type of expert opinions that are most useful will change depending on the circumstances, the legal issues, and how the parties have decided to approach the arbitration process.
Once the relevant documents have been exchanged and any expert opinions have been completed, each party will start to work on how they're going to present their case to the arbitrator and on the documents they'll want to refer the arbitrator to at the hearing. These might include:
- written arguments,
- timelines, charts, financial tables, photographs, videos, and other visual aids,
- summaries of what your witnesses are going to say, called will-say statements,
- affidavits and financial statements,
- binders with the financial and other documents you're going to be asking your witnesses to identify, comment on, or explain, called books of documents, and
- binders with the case law you're going to be asking the arbitrator to consider, called books of authorities.
Sometimes the arbitrator will want the parties to cooperate and prepare other hearing documents together. These might include:
- statements of agreed facts, a written summary of the facts both parties agree about, and
- joint books of documents, binders with the financial and other documents you will both rely on.
Next, the parties and their lawyers, if they have them, will attend the hearing. Arbitration hearings can take place in the arbitrator's office, a boardroom in a hotel or anywhere else that's private, or even remotely by videoconference, and are usually less formal than court hearings; arbitration processes can be as formal or informal as the parties and the arbitrator want.
At the hearing, each party makes an opening argument describing the evidence that will be given and then presents their evidence. The parties' evidence usually consists of the testimony of witnesses, documents, and affidavits. Each party then makes a closing argument to show the arbitrator why the arbitrator should resolve their dispute in the way they each prefer.
After the hearing process is over, the arbitrator will provide a written decision, called an award, summarizing the evidence and resolving all of the legal issues, and explaining why the arbitrator resolved the issues in the way they resolved them.
Alternative arbitration processes
Arbitration processes can be as simple or as complicated as the parties want. The basic arbitration process I've just described looks and feels very much like the process that applies in court. However, it isn't always necessary to have a witness who gives oral evidence, or to have any evidence at all. It isn't always necessary to have oral arguments. Sometimes written arguments alone will do. And, if the parties agree, awards can provide a summary explanation of the arbitrator's decision rather than a full explanation.
Here are some examples of alternative arbitration processes:
- The parties could make their arguments to the arbitrator by telephone or videoconference, with no evidence at all, and the arbitrator giving an oral decision right there on the spot. (This process would be ideal for decisions about a legal question where the facts either don't matter or aren't in dispute. It's also the cheapest and fastest way to get a decision.)
- If evidence is necessary to help the arbitrator make their decision, the parties could make their arguments by telephone or video, and the evidence could be presented by affidavits alone, without the in-person testimony of any witness.
- If an in-person hearing is necessary, the parties could agree that evidence will be provided by affidavit, with the people who made the affidavits being cross-examined by the other person or their lawyer. Or, the parties could agree that only a limited number of witnesses will testify, and that each party will have a limited amount of time to examine and cross-examine each witness.
- If an in-person hearing is necessary and the parties agree to very few of the important facts, the parties could have an arbitration with all the bells and whistles available if they were going to court, with no limits on the number or amount of time for each witness. (This process will take the longest time to wrap up and also cost the most money.)
- Where neither party is represented by a lawyer, the hearing could be in-person but be managed completely by the arbitrator who can explore issues and ask questions. The arbitrator would work with the parties to identify the legal issues in the dispute, and then lead the examination of all of the witnesses.
I have developed a checklist of procedural elements that is helpful for designing arbitration processes, and covers every part of the arbitration process, from deciding whether to have an in-person hearing or a hearing by videoconference, to whether and how experts will be hired, to how evidence will be presented at the hearing. You can download my "Arbitration Rules Pick-List" from the website of John-Paul Boyd Arbitration Chambers.
Mandatory elements of arbitration processes
Although arbitration processes are incredibly flexible, there are certain aspects of arbitration that are required in British Columbia.
First, the arbitrator must give each party the opportunity to make their case, and to reply to the case made by the other party. This is a basic element of the Canadian justice system, called either "natural justice" or "fundamental justice," that is required of judges as well as arbitrators.
Second, the arbitrator must treat each party fairly and not be biased in favour of one party over the other. Section 19.8 of the Family Law Act says this:
(1) An arbitrator must be independent of the parties.
(2) An arbitrator must be impartial and act impartially.
(3) If a person is approached in connection with the person's possible appointment as an arbitrator, the person must, without delay, disclose any circumstances likely to give rise to justifiable doubts as to the person's independence or impartiality.
(4) An arbitrator, from the time of the arbitrator's appointment and throughout the arbitration, must, without delay, disclose to the parties any circumstances referred to in subsection (3).
Third, when it comes to decisions about children, the arbitrator must consider only the best interests of the children.
Finally, arbitral awards must be given in writing and be signed by the arbitrator.
Otherwise, the parties and their arbitrator are free to be as creative as they want and create the rules and the process that are best-suited to the parties, their children, their dispute, their timeline, and their budget.
Changing, challenging and appealing awards
If you are unhappy with an arbitrator's decision, you might be able to appeal the arbitrator's award, in the same way that a decision of the Provincial Court can be appealed to the Supreme Court, and a decision of the Supreme Court can be appealed to the Court of Appeal. When you appeal an award, you are arguing that the arbitrator made an important mistake and that, as a result of the arbitrator's mistake, all or some of their award should be cancelled.
There are other reasons why you might ask that an award be cancelled, usually because of flaws in the arbitration process itself. You would only challenge an award you're unhappy with; if you're happy with the award, you're not likely to be concerned about the fairness of the arbitration process.
On the other hand, you might have an award that you're happy with, but no longer works because there's been an important change in your circumstances, the circumstances of the other party or the circumstances of the children. If there has been an important change, you can apply to court to vary the award, in the same way that the court can vary a court order.
Under section 19.18(3) of the Family Law Act, you can apply to the Supreme Court to change, suspend or cancel all or some of an arbitrator's award when there has been an important change in circumstances after the award was made. This is called "varying" an award.
You can apply to vary an award about a particular issue on the same terms as you can apply to vary a court order about that issue. This means that you need to look at the part of the Family Law Act that applies to varying orders about the particular issue you're dealing with. If your issue is about child support, for example, you need to look at section 152 of the act. Under section 152, the court may vary an order about child support for one of three reasons:
- if there has been an important change of circumstances since the child support order was made, usually a change about income or the children's living arrangements,
- if important evidence has come to light that wasn't available at the hearing which resulted in the child support order, or
- if a lack of financial disclosure was discovered after the hearing which resulted in the child support order.
Section 47 of the Family Law Act is about varying orders for children's parenting arrangements, section 60 is about varying orders for contact with a child, and section 167 is about varying orders for spousal support.
Under section 19.18(1) of the Family Law Act, you can apply to the Supreme Court to change or cancel an arbitration award for one or five reasons concerning the basic fairness of the arbitration process:
- you have doubts about the arbitrator's independence or impartiality,
- you were not given a reasonable opportunity to be heard during the arbitration process,
- the arbitrator's award was obtained through fraud or duress from the other party,
- the award deals with legal issues not included in your arbitration agreement, or
- the arbitrator exceeded their authority.
It's important to know that, under section 16.18(2), you can only ask to change or cancel an award because of doubts about the arbitrator's independence or impartiality if there is a "real danger of bias" on the part of the arbitrator. This can be difficult to prove. In Spence v. The Board of Police Commissioners of Prince Albert, a 1987 decision of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, the court explained what you have to prove to show a real danger of bias, saying that:
“The test is whether a reasonable person would believe there is a real danger of bias or whether there would be a reasonable suspicion of bias even though unintended.
Under section 19.19 of the Family Law Act, you can appeal all or part of an arbitrator's award to the Supreme Court on:
- a question of law, or
- a question of mixed fact and law.
Questions of law are about which law should be applied to determine a legal issue. Appeals based on questions of law argue that the arbitrator applied the wrong legal test or interpreted the legal test incorrectly. Questions of mixed fact and law are about whether the facts satisfy the legal test. Appeals can be complicated, and it's always a good idea to talk to a lawyer before deciding to appeal an arbitrator's decision.
Appeals must be started within 40 days of the date you received the arbitrator's award.
Other uses of arbitration
Arbitration is very helpful in resolving family law problems quickly and efficiently. Parenting coordinators use a process a lot like arbitration to make decisions resolving disagreements when the parents aren't able to find solutions to which they both agree. The flexibility of arbitration also means that people can ask their arbitrator to make a decision based on the rules of a religion, based on grounds of conscience, or based on equity and fairness.
Arbitration can also be used to:
- break logjams in settlement discussions, where only one or two issues can't be agreed upon,
- resolve disagreements about how the law should be interpreted or applied in a particular situation,
- make temporary decisions about support or parenting arrangements while the parties are negotiating a settlement, or
- perform technical calculations, like about the amount of costs payable in a court proceeding, the income of someone who is self-employed, the amount of spousal support payable, or the after-tax cost of children's expenses.
Under section 19.10 of the Family Law Act, the parties can choose their own law to govern the arbitration process. Nothing in the act says that this law cannot be a religious law. Judaism and Islam, for example, each have religious laws that can apply to family law disputes for members of those faiths. Members of the orthodox Jewish community may use Halakha to settle personal disputes. Muslims can use Sharia law for the same purpose.
Whatever rules a couple chooses, however, the result of an arbitration cannot be "inconsistent" with the Family Law Act or the Divorce Act. Section 19.20 of the Family Law Act says this:
Despite any agreement of the parties to a family law dispute, a provision of an arbitration award that is inconsistent with this Act or the Divorce Act (Canada) is not enforceable.
This means, for example, that child support must be paid to the person who has the child most of the time by the person who has the child for the least amount of time, and that the amount of support paid cannot be too different from what the Child Support Guidelines require. It also means that a particular person shouldn't have the primary residence of a child merely because of their gender, the age of the child or some other arbitrary reason.
Note that if the parties to faith-based arbitration wish to obtain a divorce, they must still start a court proceeding in the Supreme Court of British Columbia for a divorce order. A religious divorce, such as the Jewish Get, is not a legal divorce.
Parenting coordination uses a process that includes a decision-making function that's a lot like arbitration. In parenting coordination, the arbitrator is called a parenting coordinator and first tries to settle a dispute about parenting through a settlement process like mediation. If the parents cannot find consensus, however, the parenting coordinator acts like an arbitrator and makes a written decision, called a determination, resolving the dispute. The parenting coordinator's authority to resolve these disputes comes from the participation agreement the parents sign, in this case called a parenting coordination agreement.
As with faith-based arbitration, or any other kind of family law arbitration for that matter, the parenting coordinator cannot make determinations that are inconsistent with the Family Law Act. However, parenting coordinators are subject to additional restrictions in the scope of the things they can make decisions about. Under section 6(3) and (4)(a)(ix) of the Family Law Act Regulation, parenting coordinators can make determinations about parenting arrangements, contact with a child, and other issues agreed to by the parties and the parenting coordinator. However, regardless of whatever the parties and the parenting coordinator may have agreed to, a parenting coordinator may not make decisions about:
- legal issues that are excluded by an order or a parenting coordination agreement,
- changes to the guardianship of a child,
- changes to the allocation of parental responsibilities,
- giving parenting time or contact to a person who does not already have parenting time or contact,
- substantial changes to parenting time or contact, or
- the relocation of a child.
There's a lot more information about parenting coordination in the next section of this chapter.
When to use arbitration
There are lots of good reasons to use arbitration rather than go to court. It's fast and efficient, the rules that govern the process are extremely flexible, it's confidential and private, and you get to pick a judge who is an expert in not just family law but the aspects of the law that are the most important in your case. There are, however, only a few circumstances that make arbitration a necessary choice over mediation, collaborative negotiation, or litigation. Typically, people will choose to arbitrate their dispute if:
- they want the laws of their religion or another set of legal, moral or ethical principles to apply to their dispute,
- their positions are too far apart to make negotiation or mediation a reasonable option and must have a decision made for them, but don't want to go to the expense, anxiety, and acrimony typically involved in going to court,
- they want to resolve their dispute discreetly and privately, and don't want to risk their personal business being made public,
- the legal issues are complex and demand a decision-maker who is a specialist in those issues, or
- they want their dispute resolved more quickly than the court schedule will allow.
It's important to understand that while arbitrators can make awards on all of the usual family law issues — including parenting arrangements, contact, child support, spousal support, and the division of property and debt — arbitrators cannot make awards on certain issues that can only be decided by a judge. These include:
- divorce orders and annulments,
- orders appointing someone as the guardian of a child who is not a parent of that child,
- declarations about who is, and who is not, the parent of a child, unless the declaration is necessary to resolve an issue that is within the arbitrator's jurisdiction, and
- orders changing the order of a judge.
How to find a family law arbitrator
Finding a family law arbitrator can sometimes be the hard part about taking your problem to arbitration, as there aren't too many arbitrators who specialize in family law issues. Your first and best bet is to speak to a family law lawyer and see who they might recommend to you. (Most lawyers will have a list of three of four arbitrators who they've used in the past and like working with.) You might also do an internet search for "family law arbitrator British Columbia," as lawyers who work as family law arbitrators will describe themselves this way and take pains to indicate in which jurisdiction they work. You could also contact organizations which specialize in providing legal education and developing out-of-court dispute resolution processes, including:
(Be warned, however, that there are lots of accredited family law arbitrators who may not have decided to pay the money to join these organizations.) Finally, you could call the Canadian Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service. Although the service can't recommend one family law arbitrator over another, they'll at least be able to give you some names.
- The ADR Institute of British Columbia
- The ADR Institute of Canada
- The Arbitrators Association of British Columbia
- Lawyer Referral Service
- BC Parenting Coordinators Roster Society
- John-Paul Boyd Arbitration Chambers Library
- John-Paul Boyd Arbitration Chamber Arbitration Procedure
- The Law Society of BC
- Resolving Disputes Without Going to Court from Dial-a-Law by the People's Law School
- Settling out of Court from the Justice Education Society of BC
- Mediation, collaborative negotiation, and arbitration from Dial-a-Law by the People's Law School
- Arbitration procedure pick-list (fillable PDF)
- Sample arbitration participation agreement (PDF) in cases where the parties are represented by lawyers.
- Sample arbitration participation agreement (PDF) in cases where the parties are not represented by lawyers.
These sample participation agreements may not resemble the participation agreement you are asked to sign. They provide a more or less accurate picture of what arbitration participation agreements usually look like, but should be used as a reference only.
You can also look at the website of John-Paul Boyd Arbitration Chambers which provides a number of model participation agreements for download.
- "An Evaluation of the Cost of Family Law Disputes: Measuring the Cost Implication of Various Dispute Resolution Methods" PDF from Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family
- "Alternatives to Going to Court" PDF from the Justice Education Society of BC
|This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by JP Boyd, 25 August 2021.|
|JP Boyd on Family Law © John-Paul Boyd and Courthouse Libraries BC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence.|