How is Paul Hollywood keeping his divorce out of court?

November 4, 2019

It has been revealed that Paul Hollywood and his estranged wife will attempt to settle their ongoing divorce battle out of court through the process of family arbitration. Neil Denny, divorce lawyer at Roythornes Solicitors, looks at why they chose this method and why it can be beneficial.


Recent reports have stated that Paul Hollywood and his wife Alexandra have chosen to settle their financial divorce matters out of court.


The couple’s divorce battle has been widely documented since their split in 2017. However, it has been revealed that they chose to go through family arbitration in order to settle their differences.


What is family arbitration?

At its core, arbitration is a form of dispute resolution, often used by couples wishing to settle matters privately. A couple will jointly appoint someone as their arbitrator, typically a specially trained senior family lawyer, barrister or retired judge.

The arbitrator will hear the legal arguments from both sides and then decide what the outcome will be, similar to a court judge. A formal court order is then drawn up and filed to reflect the arbitration decision. This will then be binding.

Why do couples use arbitration?

  1. Privacy. Arbitration hearings allow total privacy. Whilst most court hearings take place in private, the details about when and where hearings will take place will often be public knowledge. For high profile couples such as the Hollywood’s, this is often a key reason for choosing the process.


  1. Speed. It can take nine to 24 months to resolve matrimonial financial proceedings through the courts, depending upon the complexity of the case and the availability of court time. It is possible to shorten that time scale – often dramatically so – by using arbitration, which can better fit in with everybody’s diaries.


  1. Flexibility. The couple, along with the arbitrator, have much more control over the process. They can decide when and where appointments take place, whereas typical court hours are 10.00am to 4.00pm. If they want to meet in a comfortable conference suite, with refreshments, they can do so. They can also agree to limit or increase what evidence, and other information, is going to be required and the time allowed for exchanging it.


  1. Choice of arbitrator. Every judge and arbitrator are different. If a case goes to court, then the couple has no choice as to which judge will hear their case. However, arbitration allows you to jointly choose who oversees your situation.


  1. Cost. Couples can expect the total cost of going through the family arbitration process to be lower than the costs of resolving matters through court. This is as a result of arbitration being quicker and more flexible.

Often celebrity couples, such as the Hollywood’s, will choose this method of divorce proceedings for the reasons outlined above but it’s not just for the rich and famous.

The process is available to anybody as an alternative to contested financial or some children law court proceedings. We will often encourage clients to consider this alternative given the unfortunate delays that many currently experience with the court system.

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