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What is Private FDR or a Private Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing?

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A Financial Dispute Resolution, also known as a FDR is a court hearing in relation to financial proceedings. Attendance at a Court FDR is compulsory. The hearing is listed for parties in financial matters to obtain advice from a Judge regarding the likely outcome in a case where two parties are divorcing. The further aim of the hearing is to allow the parties to try and negotiate a financial settlement without further recourse to the Court.

THE FDR takes place after the parties have exchanged financial disclosure so that both parties have a good understanding of the assets and liabilities from the marriage and what is available to be divided.

The principle of FDR’s are undoubtedly an excellent idea as it encourages parties to negotiate and reach an agreement which they both consider to be fair. However, due to the Courts being overstretched and under resourced, the time allocated for a FDR hearing to take place may often be insufficient. It can sometimes also be the case that the Judge at the FDR does not have the experience in respect of the particular issues or assets within the case and therefore they are unable to provide any expertise or knowledge in the area.

There is a solution known as a Private FDR. The concept is the same. An experienced Judge, Barrister, Solicitor or even retired Judge can give you an indication of the likely outcome of the case and the parties can then try to negotiate and attempt to reach a financial settlement. Our specialist Family Solicitors at Emery Johnson Astills can advise you whether your matter is appropriate for a Private FDR.

There are a number of benefits of Private FDR’s which include:

  1. The parties can choose the “Judge”. The parties are able to agree on an appropriate “Judge” depending on the level and area of expertise required. This is often encouraging for both parties as they are aware that the “Judge” understands the case.


  2. They can take place at any time, even before proceedings have been issued and therefore can be cost effective.


  3. The parties can choose the time, location and day and have as much time as they allocate to the FDR.


  4. It is voluntarily entered into. Therefore, neither party is dragged into the negotiations and both parties have a choice.


  5. The parties investing their own money into the FDR- this may seem like a negative but the chances are that due to the parties paying privately, they are more invested in reaching a settlement rather than allowing matters to progress further.


  6. Focussing and narrowing the issues. The parties may have reached an agreement already about certain parts of the financial settlement and therefore the Judge can concentrate on only the relevant issues.


  7. The ability for the Judge to be appointed as a mediator in the unfortunate circumstance that the parties are unable to settle matters.


  8. They can replace court-based FDR’s and have the same legal standing. Therefore, parties are not required to attend both.


  9. The process can feel far less intimidating than the formal court procedures.

Private FDR’s have a very high settlement rate of over 90% as the parties are involved and invested in the process. It is an ideal way to have more control over the financial remedy proceedings and to ensure that parties do not need to wait for availability in the Court diary.

At Emery Johnson Astills we can advise you further about Private FDR’s and we can organise and assist to resolve disputes in this way.


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