Happy retirement Sir Peter, champion of family arbitration!

July 31, 2018 Posted by:

We are very sad to report that Sir Peter Singer, one of the founders of FamilyArbitrator, has announced his retirement from practice as an arbitrator.

Peter has worked tirelessly in promoting family arbitration, both before and since the inception of the IFLA scheme in 2012, and both in public and behind the scenes. Most notably, he has been a member of the IFLA Rules Committee, and his two seminal and influential articles at [2012] Fam Law 1353 and [2012] Fam Law 1496 brought the benefits of family arbitration to a wide audience. These articles were cited in a number of cases, most significantly and extensively by the outgoing President, Sir James Munby, in S v S [2014] EWHC 7 (Fam), the landmark decision in which he gave powerful endorsement to the IFLA arbitration scheme. At paragraph 18 of his judgment Sir James adopted verbatim a passage from the second article dealing with the supervisory role of the court:

The starting point in every case, as it seems to me, is that identified in characteristically arresting language by Sir Peter Singer in ‘Arbitration in Family Financial Proceedings: the IFLA Scheme: Part 2’ [2012] Fam Law 1496, 1503:

“I suggest that the ‘magnetic factor’ perspective provides an appropriate analogy, and illuminates how applications (whether or not by consent) for orders to reflect an IFLA award should be viewed by the court: through the wrong end of a telescope rather than through a wide-angle lens. Such an approach respects the court’s jurisdiction, but gives full force and effect to party autonomy by treating the parties’ agreement to be bound by the award as the magnetic factor which should lead to a reflective order. Thus an arbitral award founded on the parties’ clear agreement in their Form ARB1 to be bound by the award should be treated as a lodestone (more then than just a yardstick) pointing the path to court approval”.

Here at FamilyArbitrator, we are immensely grateful to Peter for his wise counsels, his innovative ideas and all his very valuable contributions to our website since 2012 when it was launched.

Peter has been both great fun and demanding to work with. An email might arrive at any time of day or night, extensively correcting some offending syntax or punctuation which we had offered up. He also designed some ridiculously absurd golden medal logos prior to the 2012 Olympics; if you clicked on a medal it would turn around to reveal the face of a ‘champion family arbitrator’. Hilariously amusing to us, if to no one else, he led us as if a pied piper on such amusing diversions, to enliven our otherwise fairly dry and serious task of seeking to be at the forefront of articulating how arbitration should work in the family context.

We wish Peter a very long and happy retirement.