One of the stages of a matrimonial finance (financial remedy) application is the ‘FDR’ – the Financial Dispute Resolution hearing – at which a judge offers his or her ‘early neutral evaluation’ of the likely outcome of the application.

But the pressure on the courts is increasing, cases are taking longer to get a hearing, and judges are being allowed less time to hear and consider them. A private FDR is one answer to these problems. We have a number of members, of different levels of call and experience, appropriate to different types of case, who are regularly instructed to act as an FDR judge in a private setting.

Although the rate of successful settlement at a court FDR is good, it is even better at a private FDR

A member conducting a private FDR will read and consider the papers properly, hear the parties’ representatives, and give a wholly neutral evaluation of the likely outcome. This means that parties to a case can both hear, from an independent expert, what the probable outcome of their case would be at a final hearing. Many people settle their whole case at this point, because both parties then know what they may stand to gain or lose. The savings in terms of time and legal costs can be substantial – for although the rate of successful settlement at a court FDR is good, it is even better at a private FDR. Private FDRs also offer a guarantee of privacy, and a dedicated FDR judge for the entire day (who will have had ample time to read the case papers) and comfortable conference room facilities and refreshments, which altogether make the process a lot less stressful than a formal court appearance might be.


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