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Privacy within family law cases and the increase in ADR – Stephen Foster features in the Times

08 November 2016

Paparazzi Photographers"High-net-worth divorce is not all about Brangelina - fraudulent non-disclosure, stellar contributions and privacy versus openness are issues jostling in a system that is bursting," says a recent article in the Brief, by The Times.

Stephen Foster recently featured in the Brief, the legal newsletter from The Times. He commented on the subject of privacy within family law cases, and the increase in alternative dispute resolution options. Extracts from the article are set out below.

Stephen Foster, head of the family law department at Stewarts Law, says there is confusion whether family proceedings are, as Mr Justice Mostyn says, "quintessentially private" or should be held in open court, as Mr Justice Holman says. "To have two such eminent High Court judges espousing diametrically opposing views is rather like a modern-day papal schism," he says, "and it should be resolved without delay."

Alternatives routes

That uncertainty is one of the factors behind the growth in alternative routes such as private financial dispute resolution, early neutral evaluation, mediation and family arbitration where confidentiality is guaranteed.

Foster says there is a move towards giving parties greater individual autonomy. "Although arbitration is not for all cases," he says, "particularly those involving third parties like trustees, clients are attracted to arbitration by the guaranteed anonymity, control of the process, speed and the ability to agree the identity of the judge. As one of our clients said, what's not to like?"

To view the full article, please click here and sign up to the Brief Premium (currently free).

Stephen Foster, Head of Divorce DepartmentHead of Divorce and Family department Stephen Foster is credited with assembling "far and away the best Divorce team in London" described recently by Legal 500 as a "scarily bright team noted for their knack of unravelling complicated trust structures and assets hidden behind companies".

Stephen has wide experience of dealing with complex divorce and family cases. He represents both husbands and wives primarily in high value divorce cases many of which have an international dimension and often involve complex financial structures. He also deals with high-profile children's cases, including relocation applications both within the UK and abroad.

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