Qualifications of an Arbitrator
Arbitration is not the same as mediation; however, it can be used along with mediation or other collaborative processes. In arbitration, you agree to allow a family law arbitrator to make a decision on your family issue, much the same as a judge would.
In arbitration, all parties must agree to the use of an arbitrator and the rules that will be applied during the arbitration before the process begins. The rules cannot be changed after the process begins.
What are the requirements of an arbitrator?
Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, certain training and qualification requirements for family law arbitrators were enacted by the Family Law Act. To practice arbitration in Canada, an arbitrator must be an attorney, psychologist or social worker. In addition, they must be trained in arbitration, decision-making, skills development, family law and family violence. They must also have, at a minimum, 10 years’ experience working in a family-related field.
An arbitrator who is an attorney can perform arbitration on any and all types of family law issues, from divorce and child-related issues to property division and alimony cases. A psychologist or social worker, who is not an attorney, may only perform arbitration on child issues and child support cases.
Resolving issues outside of the courtroom using an arbitrator is called an alternative dispute resolution. Through mediation and negotiation, and an impartial arbitrator, the focus is less on who wins or loses, and more on finding an agreeable solution to a family issue. This path helps families to work together instead of creating a larger disparity between those involved.
Source: British Columbia: Family Justice Information and Support, “Arbitrators,” accessed May 1, 2015