1 June 2016


The next core training for FLAGS Family Law Arbitrators will take place in Edinburgh from 24th to 26th February 2017. 

The Family Law Arbitration Group (Scotland) – FLAGS – has 47 trained Arbitrators presently. Those individuals are experienced Family Law Solicitors, Counsel and former members of the judiciary.

Our first two training courses were oversubscribed and therefore due to popular demand a third course is being run between 24th and 26th February 2017. To become eligible for admission to FLAGS there are two required elements: firstly, it will be necessary to complete training provided by us – completion of the course in February and a separate written assessment; secondly, solicitor applicants will need to be accredited as specialists in family law by the Law Society of Scotland with counsel applicants being required to demonstrate that they have been in practice for seven years (which can be a combination of practice at the Bar, as a solicitor or solictor advocate) with a significant family law element to their practice. Former members of the judiciary are also eligible for admission.

The training, which has been tailored to the Scottish FLAGS arbitration model, will be given by Suzanne Kingston, partner, Withers LLP, who wrote and co-trained the Family Law Arbitration course in England and Wales and South Africa; Sheriff Wendy Sheehan and Rachael Kelsey, both of whom were members of the 6 strong group of solicitors and counsel set up in 2004 to explore the possibility of a bespoke family law arbitration scheme, which led to the formation of FLAGS in 2011. Sheriff Sheehan has many years experience as a family law Sheriff and Rachael has experience acting as an arbitrator under the FLAGS model and has also been involved with Suzanne in training family law arbitrators in South Africa.

The course will cover general training for arbitrators including taking written and oral evidence and writing awards and will focus on the particularities of arbitration in family law matters- financial and child. It will take place on a non-residential basis in Edinburgh on the weekend of 24th to 26th February 2017 - commencing 5 pm on Friday 24th February until 5pm on Sunday 26th February. Included in the cost will be materials, a copy of the Act and the Scottish Arbitration Handbook, assessment, catering during the training, a drinks reception on the Friday evening and dinner on the Saturday evening. Attendance over the full course will be required (5pm to 7.30pm on Friday; 9.15am to 5pm on Saturday and 10am to 5pm on Sunday). If you would like more information about the project generally or to express interest in the training to take place in February 2017 please contact FLAGS Secretary, Gillian Crandles who can give you more information nearer the time.


Those involved in the FLAGS project to date see arbitration as a hugely exciting possibility for dispute resolution in family law cases and have been heartened to see the interest from clients, the Scottish Government and SLAB and the positive response from the judiciary in Scotland and down south. FLAGS have been raising awareness of arbitration in Scotland, working closely with the Scottish Government and SLAB and our English counterparts, IFLA. We have crafted bespoke rules for family law arbitration in Scottish cases and have provided ongoing training and support for those accredited. We, as family practitioners, can benefit hugely from the increased profile that arbitration has had since the coming into force of the Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010 and the framework of the Act is ideally suited to a tailored family law service.

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