What to expect from a Financial Dispute Resolution Appointment

  • This is an opportunity within the court process to settle your case. These hearings have a relatively high success rate
  • Any offers made previously are before the Judge
  • The Judge also has your Forms E, replies to any questions you have asked of each other and any valuations or other reports that have been ordered. He is also given (by your legal representatives) a summary of the case and the outcome you are seeking.
  • You are asked to arrive an hour beforehand to see if discussion before you see the Judge can narrow any of the issues. The hearing times you are given are not reliable; you can generally have as much or as little of the Judge’s time as your case needs, bearing in mind there will be other cases before the same Judge on that day.
  • Both parties and their legal representatives go into the courtroom. You will not be expected to speak to the Judge (unless you are representing yourself)
  • Each side presents their case briefly to the Judge. The Judge can then choose to give “an indication”.  This is his view on what the likely outcome would be at a final hearing.  He will stress that he has not, on this occasion, heard any evidence and has not had the time to consider all of the evidence in the way a final hearing Judge would be able to.
  • After any indication, everyone leaves the courtroom with the hope that the guidance given by the Judge will enable more productive negotiations to take place in the remainder of time at court. This can place pressure on a party if the Judge’s indication has favoured one party’s position.  Your legal representative will explain to you if there are reasons to discount what the Judge has said.
  • The Judge will also stress the legal costs and the emotional strain that you will both incur if you do not settle. While it is right to emphasise this, your legal representative will make sure you understand if the offer on the table is something you could or should accept or dismiss.
  • If you reach an agreement, this can be drawn up while everyone is in the court building and the Judge will give his approval to it, making it a binding order on that day.
  • If you do not reach an agreement you go back before the Judge who will give directions to prepare for a final hearing. Your lawyers will have worked out most of the directions before going before the Judge and he will make a decision on any parts they cannot agree.
  • Not reaching a settlement at an FDR does not mean the case cannot settle at a later stage, through solicitors’ negotiations.
  • An FDR can be a long day at court. Always bring some refreshments, and try if possible to take a small break outside for at least 10 minutes during the course of the day.

Initial Fixed Fee Consultation

Come and talk to us. You’ll find us empathetic, keen to help and with a wealth of experience. We offer a fixed fee consultation of £120 for the first appointment. You will be advised on the options open to you and the possible outcomes. Our priority is to ensure that you have a clear understanding of the path ahead and the challenges involved in achieving your goals.

Disclaimer: This guide contains general information only and does not constitute legal advice.  You need to consult a suitably qualified lawyer from the firm on any specific legal issue.