Why opt for Private Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR)?
The court based FDR appointment provides a Judge led opportunity to reach settlement. FDRs have a relatively high success rate, with many cases settling at the FDR appointment, or shortly afterwards.
However, they also have their limitations:
- As court lists are increasingly congested, there is usually a considerable delay from the date of the FDA (First Directions Appointment) before the FDR takes place. In some Court centres, the delay is up to 6 months.
- As with other court hearings, the parties have no power to choose who the Judge will be.
- Experience shows that, through no fault of their own, the Judges assigned to deal with FDRs have not always had the chance to read the papers and prepare fully for the hearing.
- Judges usually have several FDR appointments in their list on one day. This can lead to frustrating and expensive waiting time at Court.
- Not all Judges are specialist financial Judges, and their indications may therefore be given less weight by experienced practitioners so the appointment may not be as helpful as it would be if an experienced specialist financial Judge (or lawyer) gave an indication.
Deans Court Chambers have an experienced team of specialist financial practitioners who act as FDR evaluators. They can help the parties to reach a settlement or, if no settlement is achieved, enable the parties to move more quickly to Final Hearing.
As in a court FDR, the evaluator encourages the parties towards settlement and (unlike mediation) expresses a clear view on the likely outcome if the dispute were to go to court. However, there is no power to impose a settlement.
Private FDRs offer great advantages:
- They can happen before court proceedings are started or at any stage during the court process.
- They will reduce delay between FDA and FDR. If a Final Hearing is envisaged, that can be listed at FDA on the basis that the parties intend to carry out a private FDR. The Final Hearing can then be vacated if the FDR results in settlement. The process can therefore be speeded up considerably.
- The parties have the power to choose an evaluator in whom they and their lawyers have confidence.
- The evaluator will have had the opportunity to read the papers in detail and prepare for the occasion.
- The FDR can deal with all or any aspects of the dispute which the parties wish. Proceedings will be dealt with on a without prejudice basis.
The former President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, is an advocate of the private FDR process, observing that: ‘’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 solicitor’s offices or barristers chambers, and a full day is normally set aside to maximise the prospects of settlement. It takes the place of an in-Court FDR.’’
Where can my Private FDR take place?
The FDR can take place either at Deans Court Chambers or wherever else the parties wish. We have Chambers in both Manchester and Preston, offering first class facilities, which includes the use of video link facilities, if so required. Refreshments and lunch are included and will be provided.
Our evaluators are happy to travel to a solicitor’s office or a neutral location such as a dedicated meeting room in a hotel or conference centre.
What happens next?
We are happy to offer a competitive fee quotation for the Private FDR service, and answer any questions you may have about the process.
For further information please contact our senior family team clerk, Andy Flannigan, on 0161 214 6012 or firstname.lastname@example.org