PRIVATE Financial dispute resolutions – COVID-19 UPDATE

April 3, 2020

It is now clear from the Notice issued by HHJ Singleton QC today that the Court’s immediate priority is to protect the vulnerable from physical and serious emotional harm. She has said in terms that all other work “must wait for now”.

Accordingly, we must all try and find a means by which we can assist clients to resolve their matrimonial finance disputes. On 30 March 2020, the Central Family Court issued guidance confirming that not only is it the duty of the parties and of the Court under FPR 2010 Rules 3.3 and 3.4 to consider alternative means resolving disputes, where the Court is not satisfied that the parties have appropriately explored alternative dispute resolution, the hearing will be adjourned so that this may be explored.

Private FDRs have had demonstrable success facilitating an early resolution of even the most intractable cases. Now that it is evident that parties will not have access to the Court system for many weeks or even months, the necessity for the provision of such a service is more important than ever.

At SJB we are well placed to service the needs of our clients for private FDRs.  Members of our matrimonial finance team can conduct private FDRs at all levels of seniority at all price bands. Private FDRs can be used for matrimonial finance as well as Schedule 1 Children Act 1989 cases and any other family work which might benefit from an early neutral evaluation.

All of our members are trained in and already working across a multitude of secure electronic platforms and our clerks will make all the necessary arrangements for such hearings to be dealt with remotely.

Joining a remote private FDR – whether as a client, solicitor, advocate or FDR ‘judge’ – will simply be a case of clicking on a link that will be emailed to all participants in advance, with no requirement to subscribe to any specific software or download an app.

For further information and to discuss fees please contact: