Arbitration...Keeping up the Momentum

As I approach delivering my first award at the end of this month, it is pleasing to hear the number of conversations (in the line up to the associate) about referral of disputes to arbitration.

The interest is also in the public as well.

This Thursday, I am presenting to the Sunshine Coast Community Legal Service Inc about arbitrations generally and on 19th June 2017 for the Sunshine Coast District Law Association a joint presentation with the Hon. Brian Jordan dispelling the myths surrounding arbitrations in Family Law.

I am aware of at least two other Brisbane arbitrators who have each heard disputes and delivered awards in the previous 12 months. 

The ball is rolling.

But this is no downhill run – we must keep up the momentum.

How do we do that?

Here is my 5 point plan / suggestion;

  • Keep an open mindset. Learn about arbitrations, talk to arbitrators, change your default mindset from litigation to arbitration. DON’T ALLOW FEAR TO DRIVE YOUR THINKING.
  • Have the conversation. Give your client the information about arbitration and let them make an informed decision. Genuinely explain the cost, time and emotional investment of court proceedings to the fraction of the cost, time and emotional investment involved in arbitration. You are an experienced family lawyer, so you will detect those matters early that are not likely to resolve via mediation. Those matters are likely to be the type of matters to arbitrate.
  • File velocity. A faster determination / finalisation benefits your client economically. Understand concepts such as “opportunity cost” and “value of certainty” and explain those concepts to your clients. Your profit and loss bottom line will also benefit from the file velocity.
  • Be ready to sell it. I continually hear “I’m all on board with an arbitration, I just don’t know how to get the otherside on board.” Here’s an idea – just sit down and have a chat. Here’s a link to an example letter you might send. Speaking on behalf of myself and the arbitrators of Queensland Arbitrators we are happy to have a no obligation discussion about arbitration for your clients.
  • Update your precedents. Most of us have those precedent first letters to clients that explain the difference between alternative dispute resolution and litigation. Does that letter include information about arbitration? It probably should. Imagine a client who spends 4 years and $100,000.00 in legal costs only to find out there was an option that might have only exposed her or him to $10,000 in legals and 8 weeks of time but was not informed of that option at the outset. Consider the information at - cut and paste away !
  • Feedback. Tell the arbitrators what is working, what doesn’t and what to do differently. A few of us are gathering together soon to work on some uniformity in terms of agreements and processes so this is all useful to us too.

I know that is 6 points. Giving an extra 20% is part of what we all do.

Email Bruce from ADR Queensland at or visit