Private Financial Dispute Resolution

3PB’s Family Group has a specific team of 22 expert early neutral evaluators who are regularly instructed to act as an FDR judge, in a private setting, for matrimonial finance disputes. These are barristers able to help make relatively quick financial agreements, in cases of all shapes and sizes, for those going through a divorce.

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 – or neutral evaluator - is presented with the case in an advanced stage of preparation; optimising a reliable assessment the likely outcome at trial. The Judge will identify the strengths and weaknesses of the parties’ positions and provide a view on the likely spectrum of outcomes if the case were to go to trial - and then the parties’ negotiate a bespoke solution for themselves. This has proven 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. It also frequently results in more mutually satisfactory outcomes, helping to reduce the feeling of winners and losers which is so prevalent in Court-directed outcomes. No wonder there has been an explosion in the popularity of these private FDRs.

Private FDRs are not just appropriate for cases involving large assets 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 highly effective before court proceedings have been issued, where the parties have exchanged disclosure but where agreement has not been reached. 3PB also shares the hope of the Family Courts that encouraging parties with more modest assets to take up this process will see fewer couples struggling even more financially because of the high costs of divorce.

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.” Mr Justice Mostyn, the current national lead judge of the Financial Remedies Courts, has said: “parties should be encouraged to have their FDRs done privately.”

3PB’s private FDR provides:

· A date without delay, with appointments set up at relatively short notice and many months ahead of the court alternative –and of flexible duration.

· Meeting either in-person, remotely (using 3PB’s exclusive Remote Access Family Court Room (RAFCOR) platform (hyperlink) or a hybrid of both.

· Use of comfortable conference room facilities and refreshments at any of 3PB’s six offices across the South of England and the Midlands; alternatively, our barristers are happy to travel nationally.

· A fixed fee for the expert, however long the dispute lasts.

· An expert who will have read the papers thoroughly in advance.

· An expert giving exclusive counsel to the divorcing parties, able to give them the time which they may need to resolve the dispute.

· An expert able to give assistance with drafting documentation/agreements if required.

Next steps

If you wish, do have a look at 3PB’s four-minute video which explains how its remote Private FDR works.

Look at the list of 3PB Judges/Neutral Evaluators and contact our clerks using the details below.

If settlement is achieved in your dispute, as we would expect, heads of agreement are drawn up for a subsequent consent order which will be binding on both parties.

Even if an overall settlement is not reached, your private FDR can lead to an agreement on discrete issues which reduces the costs of pursuing them later in the litigation. Moreover, anything discussed during the remote hearing will be without prejudice so cannot be referred to at future hearings.

Full details on Michael GeorgeMichael GeorgeCall: 1990 and his team of family law barristers at 3PB  are happy to help.

Please contact family team Practice Directors Ian Charlton or Rob Leonard for more information.

Michael George 3PB e1639491148418

Barrister

Michael George

Telephone: 0121 289 4333

WEBSITE 2021 11 15 3PB Birmingham 010 of 014 2253 e1639578583784

Practice Director

Ian Charlton

Telephone: 0121 289 4333

Rob Leonard 560x670

Practice Director

Robert Leonard

Telephone: 01202 292 102