Private FDRs often achieve the best possible outcome for clients, quickly and cost effectively, whilst avoiding the stress, delay and essential uncertainty of litigation and court proceedings.
The extraordinary circumstances of the Covid 19 pandemic have seen an explosion in the popularity of private FDRs. We offer a range of members suitable to act as early neutral evaluators for cases of all shapes and sizes.
The Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) hearing, is a key stage of financial proceedings in the Family Courts. An FDR is an informal hearing before a Judge when the Judge hears a summary presentation of each side’s case and gives “early neutral evaluation” of the likely outcome if the case were to proceed to a final hearing. Following an indication from the Judge the parties aim to negotiate a tailor-made solution for themselves aided by an understanding of what a court might be likely to order if the case went to a final hearing. This procedure is generally successful in producing autonomous settlement in 80-90% of cases which would otherwise involve judicial determination at a final hearing, and which would otherwise involve months of further waiting (and significantly increased legal costs) for a final court hearing.
The former President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby described private FDRs as:
“A simple concept. The parties pay for a financial remedy specialist to act as a private FDR judge. That person may be a solicitor, barrister, or retired judge. The private FDR takes place at a time convenient to the parties, usually in solicitors’ offices or barristers’ chambers, and a full day is normally set aside to maximise the prospects of settlement. It takes the place of the in-court FDR.”
Private FDRs are not just appropriate for ‘big money’ cases and can save costs. The length of a private FDR can vary, and solicitors may choose to represent their clients themselves, thereby avoiding the cost of instructing counsel on each side. Private FDRs are very effective before court proceedings have been issued, where the parties have exchanged disclosure but where agreement has not been reached.
A QEB private FDR provides:
- A date without delay
- An appointment of flexible duration
- An expert who will have read the papers thoroughly in advance and who will be able to give the parties the time which they may need to resolve the dispute; and assistance with drafting if required.
Members of the Evaluation Team also offer early neutral evaluations in Children Act ENE cases.
For information on Fees please click here.
For further information please contact Howard Rayner, Chambers’ Senior Clerk
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