Private Financial Dispute Resolution/ Early Neutral Evaluation
In addition, Sir Alan Ward (recently retired from the Court of Appeal), Sir Hugh Bennett and Sir Paul Coleridge (former High Court Judges), offer early neutral evaluations and FDRs under the QEB umbrella. Sir Hugh Bennett and Sir Paul Coleridge both sit at regular intervals as a s.9 High Court Judge hearing financial cases. Sir Hugh Bennett is also a Judge of the Courts of Appeal of Jersey and Guernsey, which includes hearing financial appeals.
Members of the Evaluation Team also offer early neutral evaluations in Children Act cases.
The FDR, or Financial Dispute Resolution hearing, is a key stage of financial proceedings in the Family Courts. An FDR is an informal hearing before a Judge when the Judge hears a summary presentation of each side’s case and gives "early neutral evaluation" of the likely outcome if the case were to proceed to a final hearing, so that the parties are assisted to negotiate for themselves a tailor-made solution with an understanding of what a Court might be likely to order if the case went to a final hearing. It is, in effect, non-binding arbitration. This procedure is generally successful in producing autonomous settlement in 80-90% of cases which would otherwise involve judicial determination at a final hearing and which, in reality, would otherwise involve months of further waiting (and significantly increased legal costs) for a final court hearing.
However, such is the pressure on the Court’s listing of cases that even a supposedly straightforward FDR may itself involve a wait of many months just to get a Court date in front of a Judge who in some courts may turn out not to be an expert in money cases, and/or has not had sufficient chance to read the case papers in advance of the FDR appointment, and/or who may not be able to devote sufficient time to securing a negotiated settlement. The prospects of settlement are increased where the parties elect to have a private FDR as the facilitator will have pre-read the papers and will be available for the whole day.
A private FDR avoids the inherent risk of insufficient court time or judicial expertise. It also avoids the delay in waiting for a court date. And, very importantly, it can take place wholly outside the Court process – with or without the existence of court proceedings in parallel – and is not confined to financial issues (as is the case with Court-FDRs).
Private FDRs are not just appropriate for “big money” cases 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 very effective before court proceedings have been issued, where the parties have exchanged disclosure but where agreement has not been reached.
A QEB private FDR provides an early date; an appointment of flexible duration; an expert who will have read the papers thoroughly in advance and who will be able to give the parties the time which they may need in order to resolve the dispute; and assistance with drafting if required.
For further information please contact Howard Rayner,
Chambers’ Senior Clerk.
Lewis Marks QC £7,500 plus VAT
Lucy Stone QC £6,000 plus VAT
Tim Amos QC £5,000 plus VAT
Stewart Leech QC £5,000 plus VAT
James Ewins QC £4,000 plus VAT
Andrew Tidbury £3,000 plus VAT
Elizabeth Clarke £4,500 plus VAT
Alexander Thorpe £3,000 plus VAT
Marcus Lazarides £3,000 plus VAT
Duncan Brooks £3,000 plus VAT
Morgan Sirikanda £3,000 plus VAT
Tristan Harvey £2,500 plus VAT
Marina Faggionato £2,250 plus VAT
Sir Alan Ward
Sir Hugh Bennett
Sir Paul Coleridge
Lewis Marks QC
Lucy Stone QC
Tim Amos QC
Stewart Leech QC
James Ewins QC