What is early neutral evaluation/private Financial Dispute Resolution?

These are two processes which may help to resolve your case outside the court arena. Early neutral evaluation is a voluntary process which aims to help those involved in a dispute gain a better understanding of the merits of their position. It aims to promote settlement and avoid a court hearing, usually early on in a case.

A private Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) hearing is named after a stage within the court process in financial cases where the judge seeks to encourage settlement. A private FDR looks to replicate what a court would do but in a private setting.

An independent expert (often a part-time judge or experienced arbitrator or barrister) is appointed to review the available evidence and provide an indication to everyone involved in the dispute of what the outcome might be if the matter proceeds to a court hearing.

What are the benefits?

Early neutral evaluation can take place at any stage in the process and can be tailored as a flexible means of resolving disputes in relation to children, financial matters and property arising from a family relationship. The process is confidential and an indication can be obtained on the whole of the dispute, or confined to a single issue, if there is a particular sticking point.

A private FDR hearing replicates what would happen in a court hearing but due to its private nature, it can be a more thorough experience. It can be used in conjunction with the court process or as a stand alone process.

Arrangements for these processes can be made much more quickly than a court can hear the case and with greater flexibility.

Is the process right for me?

These processes can be tailored to accommodate the issues in dispute, the nature of your relationship, your objectives, and your budget.

In the right circumstances, the process can offer a more flexible approach to resolving your dispute which may be quicker, cheaper and less formal than court proceedings.

How can we help?

Our specialist family team are happy to discuss whether an early neutral evaluation/private Financial Dispute Resolution would be appropriate in your case.

If you would like to speak with a member of the team you can contact our family law solicitors; Holborn office 020 3826 7526; Kingston office 020 3826 7527 or Putney office 020 3826 7520 or complete our enquiry form.