Early Neutral Evaluation – FDR with fewer tears?

In divorce proceedings a crucial stage is the Financial Dispute Resolution hearing or FDR. The FDR is a form of early neutral evaluation: in an informal setting the Judge expresses a view about the likely outcome of the dispute in order to assist the parties towards settlement, but does not have the power to make an order if they cannot agree.

FDRs have an extremely high success rate – most cases settle at the hearing or shortly afterwards on the basis of the indication the court has given. But:-

  • Because the court lists are overloaded (and the problem is worsening), there is usually a considerable delay before the FDR takes place.
  • Because of the volume of work the Courts are now handling, it is likely that your FDR will be listed at exactly the same time as one or possibly even two more.
  • It is pot luck which Judge will hear your case.  It may be a very inexperienced Deputy District Judge with only Civil Law experience.  Because the Judges have so much in their list, Judges assigned to deal with FDRs have not always had the chance to read the papers and prepare fully for the hearing.
  • The FDR can only take place at a specified time in the progress of a case.

Jan Stanton of Stantons now offers private Early Neutral Evaluation.  Jan has been a Deputy District Judge at the Principal Registry of the Family Division for many years and is highly experienced in dealing with FDRs in cases ranging from many millions of pounds of assets to ones where there is simply not enough money to go round.  ENE (otherwise sometimes called a private FDR) will encourage the parties towards settlement and will express a clear view on the likely outcome if the dispute were to go to Court.  Jan does not have the power to impose a settlement but ENE offers great advantages: –

  • It can happen before court proceedings are started, or at any stage during the court or negotiation process.
  • There is very little delay.
  • The parties will know of Jan’s experience and that their case is receiving individual attention.
  • Jan will have had the opportunity to read the papers and prepare for the occasion.
  • The ENE can deal with all or any aspects of the dispute which the parties wish.

Jan offers ENE to cases where both parties are represented or where only one party is represented or where neither of the parties are represented.  Stantons will never have acted for either party and would not be able to act for either party at any time after the ENE.

ENEs are diarised at 10:00am with the whole day set aside for negotiation and input from the evaluator.  Jan will ask for completed Forms E with all supporting documents and any replies that have been given to questions asked of the other by either party, at least three working days before the ENE appointment to enable her to properly prepare the case.

Stantons will charge a maximum of £1,200.00 including VAT for the ENE process including preparation and a maximum of 5 hours spent on the day of the ENE appointment.  Separate rooms will be available for the parties and their representatives for discussion as the day progresses and our tea and coffee are far better than that from the Court machines.

For further information please contact Stantons at info@stanlaw.co.uk or by phone on 01474 579940 or

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About rottweilerinsheepsclothing

Principal at Stantons family law and divorce solicitors
This entry was posted in Divorce solicitors, Family law solicitors, Friendly solicitors, Gravesend, North Kent, Specialist lawyers, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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