Press release

Keeping it out of court for the kids - National Family Dispute Resolution Week 2015

Posted by: Annmarie Carvalho | Date posted : 17/11/2015

National Family Dispute Resolution Week 2015 begins on 23 November, with the aim of promoting non-court solutions for resolving family disputes.

This year's initiative, which is supported by organisations including The Law Society, the Family Mediators Association and Resolution (an organisation made up of family lawyers committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes) focuses on "putting children first" and will raise awareness of the advantages of keeping cases out of court which can include reducing some of the many emotional and financial costs that are often unfortunately a by-product of legal proceedings.

London law firm Farrer & Co offers mediation, arbitration and collaborative law as alternative ways of resolving family disputes and keeping cases out of court. Annmarie Carvalho, Associate and Family Mediator at Farrer & Co said:

"The aim of the week is to publicise the benefits of adopting a more conciliatory, non-court based approach to family disputes which can be very emotional and distressing for those involved, particularly children.

Resolving these disputes outside court can help families not only to save hefty legal costs and reduce stress but also help them to communicate in the future so that they can continue to co-parent their children together.

We advise many families in this way and would encourage anyone involved in a family dispute to consider alternatives before going to court."

Practitioners around the country will be organising various activities promoting non-court resolution of disputes arising as a result of relationship breakdown.

To mark the week, Farrer & Co will be offering free coffee and information sessions for those who wish to come in and speak to one of our trained mediators during the week of 23-27 November about options for resolving family disputes outside of court. All are welcome!

For more information, contact Annmarie Carvalho on 020 3375 7000 or at


Notes to editors

About National Family Dispute Resolution Week

This year, the focus of National Family Dispute Resolution Week is on putting children first.

During 2015, a working group has been looking at how the 'voice of the child' can be incorporated further into both family court proceedings and also into non-court processes, such as into the mediation room. At present, it is possible for family mediators to speak to children, provided the mediator has the required additional qualification to enable them to work with children. However, the statistics suggest that in fact this happens rarely in practice. Also, in court proceedings relating to children and who they spend time with, children over the age of 10 are usually requested to attend court to speak to a CAFCASS officer. CAFCASS is a government agency and their officers act as 'the voice of children in the family courts' and typically a child would speak to the CAFCASS officer about their wishes and feelings regarding the dispute between their parents. Having said that, the working group has been looking at how the voice of the child and their welfare and needs can be placed even more centre stage than they are at present.

Children have also been at the forefront in 2015 through discussions regarding the introduction of child-issues arbitration. Family arbitration regarding financial matters has been a possibility for clients since 2012 in England and Wales and provides clients with the opportunity of having their case decided by an arbitrator privately who can give a binding judgment quickly rather than clients going through the public court process which tends to involve delay (given the volume of cases going through the courts).

About Farrer & Co

Farrer & Co provides a broad range of specialist legal services to private and commercial clients, from charitable institutions, private families and individuals to asset managers, media groups and sport governing bodies.

The firm is regarded as having one of the leading family law practices in the country, handling cutting-edge cases that are often law-changing, complex and high value.  As well as offering a range of alternative dispute resolution it acts for many international clients and has considerable experience in international litigation, including complex children cases involving international relocation. The team is also well-versed in handling cases before the Supreme Court, including in the high-profile Prest v Petrodel Resources in 2013 and Radmacher in 2010.

For further information on alternatives to Court please visit our website here