Due to the increased encouragement from the Court for parties to engage in Private FDRs (Financial Dispute Resolution hearings), financial remedy specialists in our Family & Divorce team offer a service designed to meet the growing need for a non-court-based resolution service for family finance cases.

The FDR is a key stage of the financial proceedings and one at which the vast majority of cases settle. This method of resolution offers clients an affordable, responsive and quality route to settlement. The FDR is a rapid, flexible and responsive tool that adapts to the particular circumstances of each case.

A private FDR is 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. No additional qualification is required. 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.

The former President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby

On the day of the private FDR the barrister involved will provide both parties with a [non-binding] indication as to the most likely outcome should their dispute(s) proceed to court. An agreed bundle of relevant documents is sent to the barrister in advance of the private FDR hearing. An indication may be given on one or more issues and on one or more occasions during the day.  The clients attend for the FDR with their respective lawyers and are provided with their own rooms during the day.

Reasons to choose a private FDR over a traditional court-based FDR:

  • Cost: the parties split the cost of the FDR session between them.
  • Focus: the private FDR is tailored to the circumstances of each case and the nature of the dispute. The case will be the absolute priority of the private FDR judge. He / she will have had plenty of time to read into and thoroughly / understand the issues.
  • Time: the private FDR is scheduled for the day, on a date to suit the parties not one fixed by the court, faster than a court listing, and the time pressures of court attendance are removed.
  • Quality: all papers will be read in advance and the parties can be assured of a fully-informed private FDR.
  • Flexibility: the private FDR can respond to the nuances of the particular dispute and the direction and pace of negotiations on the day.
  • Privacy: a private FDR is just that: private. No-one other than the parties, their lawyers and the chosen judge need know when or where the hearing is taking place.

Our family clerks can arrange Private FDRs in Chambers itself or at a location to suit the parties. FDRs can also be held as an alternative to, or at any stage of, Court proceedings. Our clerks can also advise professional and lay clients on the appropriate specialist to conduct these hearings.

Family Private FDRs Team

Christopher Sharp QC

Christopher Sharp KC

  • Call: 1975
  • Silk: 1999

With many reported cases, Christopher is frequently instructed on appeals to the Court of Appeal. He has extensive experience in high-value financial remedy, ToLATA and Schedule 1 cases, including those with a foreign element, many of which are...

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Nick Miller

Nick Miller

  • Call: 1994

Nick advises and represents clients solely in financial remedy issues, particularly complex high value pensions, farm and company cases. He enjoys an enviable reputation for his expertise and is consistently ranked by the legal directories for his ancillary...

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Jacqueline Humphreys

Jacqueline Humphreys

  • Call: 1994

Jacqueline is a confident and highly competent advocate, specialising in the financial aspects of relationship breakdown. She rejoined the St John’s Chambers Family & Divorce team from a chambers in Birmingham where she had an enviable reputation for...

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Zoë Saunders

  • Call: 2003

Zoë is a specialist family law barrister with extensive experience of cohabitation disputes involving ToLATA and Applications under Schedule 1 of the Children Act. She has expertise in financial remedy cases involving farms and farming businesses, multiple properties,...

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Jody Atkinson

  • Call: 2005

Jody is regularly instructed by both husbands and wives to advise and represent them in financial proceedings resulting from divorce. Jody regularly advises in complex cases involving trust funds, international issues, farms and family businesses. Jody is well...

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Richard Norman

Richard Norman

  • Call: 2009

Richard’s particular area of interest is in financial remedies and he has developed a strong practice in this sphere. He accepts instructions in cases involving a variety of issues including matrimonial/non-matrimonial property, nuptial settlements, company interests (and valuation...

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Jack Harris

  • Call: 2012

Jack now has an entirely remote and paperless practice and continues to offer his services to clients both in conference and in court hearings by telephone and by video conferencing platforms including MS Teams, Zoom, Skype for Business,...

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Oliver Riley

Oliver Riley

  • Call: 2013

Oliver is a private family, trusts and estates barrister, and offers advice, drafting and advocacy services within his areas of specialism. Oliver is also a qualified mediator. He is regularly instructed on behalf of applicants and respondents at...

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St John’s Chambers has a lengthy roster of silks and juniors with invaluable expertise in a wide range of family and matrimonial matters. Members are particularly skilled at handling cross-jurisdictional matters for high net worth individuals, especially those concerning the division of assets as part of divorce proceedings. The barristers are frequently called upon to assist with the most complex public children mandates encompassing sexual abuse, brain injury and trafficking matters, and also take on private work such as Children Act proceedings. ‘St John’s is our first choice of chambers on the Western Circuit. What sets them apart is the breadth and depth of their membership,” one source says.’ “

Chambers UK 2021, Family/Matrimonial

Luke Hodgson is the practice manager for the family team and Elaine Jewell-Moore, the family law practice team leader, is described as ‘particularly great, prompt and efficient.’ “

Chambers UK 2021, Family & Divorce (Client Service)

St John’s Chambers is home to a large team of family barristers specialising in high-profile public and private family matters on the Western Circuit.”

Legal 500 2021, Family and Children Law

St John’s Chambers is one of the foremost sets practising family law on the Western Circuit. Practitioners at the set are well known for their expertise in high-value financial remedy work as well as public and private child law. Its members regularly engage in highly complex cases regarding domestic violence, sexual abuse and social care matters. Barristers at the chambers are also known for their experience in cross-border issues arising from financial remedy and child protection mandates. Interviewees regard this as ‘one of the top leading sets in Bristol and the South West.’ “

Chambers UK 2020, Family/Matrimonial

The clerks are incredibly helpful. They will bend over backwards to help, including at extremely short notice in urgent cases.”

Chambers UK 2020, Family/Matrimonial (Client Service)

Home to a large contingent of specialist family barristers, who provide ‘great depth’ across public and private children law cases, as well as all aspects of divorce and financial remedy work. Areas of specialism include international assets in finance cases, non-accidental injury matters involving complex causation evidence, and child maintenance, where Jody Atkinson is the key name to note.”


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