Family Private FDRs

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.

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.

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