Annex 12 to the Report contains detailed draft Guidance which the Group recommend (para 95 of the Report) that the President should promulgate. It contains much that will be welcomed by arbitrators and family law practitioners alike.
Amongst other things it contains suggestions:
- that unopposed stay applications under section 9 of the Arbitration Act 1996 should be dealt with on paper, without listing or hearing;
- that in principle unopposed applications for a consent order to reflect an arbitral award should be dealt with on paper by a District Judge;
- welcome provisions which, if adopted, will protect the privacy and confidentiality of an arbitration award filed with the court to obtain orders to reflect it;
- guidance (from paragraphs 17 to 21) on the procedure to be adopted pending the procedural changes necessary to bring “arbitration claims” (see below) before an appropriate judge of the Family Court;
- how to go about obtaining orders to reflect an award when proceedings for relevant relief (e.g. divorce proceedings) have not yet been commenced;
- a hint (in paragraph 27) that challenges to an award under sections 67 to 71 of the Arbitration Act which come before judges of High Court level in the Family Court may in accordance with commercial court experience be relatively rarely successful.
Paragraphs 85 to 95 of the Report define as their target the introduction of procedural changes designed to ensure the adoption of arbitral awards in the Family Court in a way which is as swift and uncomplicated as possible. From paragraph 88 onwards necessary procedural proposals are detailed which will enable the High Court, Family Division directly to entertain “arbitration claims” as defined by CPR Part 62.