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  • Uncertainty about stamp duty exemptions extending to transfers under arbitral awards has been clarified.
  • NSW Revenue confirms stamp duty exemptions extend to couples who were married.
  • De facto couples will only obtain stamp duty exemptions if their arbitral award is registered.

The Family Law Act 1975 (‘FLA’) encourages parties to resolve disputes without the involvement of a court. Family law arbitration is one option available to assist parties involved in property disputes to resolve their matter in a determinative way. This is an attractive option for parties who need a binding decision, but who find the delays in allocation of final hearings in the family law courts unacceptable. The recent rounds of ‘Case Management Hearings’ across various Federal Circuit Court registries demonstrated the Court’s support of arbitration, with practitioners reporting judges actively encouraging parties to consider consenting to family law arbitration; Judge Joe Harman’s article on page 71 of this edition is a prime example of this support for arbitration.

Arbitration’s stamp duty exemption problem: the background

Before Revenue NSW partially clarified the stamp duty issue in a Commissioner’s Practice Note on 28 February this year, the problem many NSW practitioners faced in convincing their client, or their opponent, to consent to having a matter referred to family law arbitration, was the stamp duty exemption problem.

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