Private FDRs

A private FDR can help you to resolve disputes over finances in a way that is tailored to your needs and without having to wait for a court date.


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One of the stages of a matrimonial finance (financial remedy) application is the ‘FDR’ – the Financial Dispute Resolution hearing – at which a judge offers their ‘early neutral evaluation’ of the likely outcome of the application. The purpose is to help the parties towards settlement, but the judge does not have the power to make an order if they can’t agree.

Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) is an established process in court, in relation to both financial applications (where there will be a Financial Dispute Resolution hearing) and children disputes (where there will be a Dispute Resolution Hearing).

However, court FDRs have their limitations.

Family disputes are often about more than one area: for instance, children and money. An FDR will only be able to deal with finances.


Because court lists are congested, there is usually a considerable delay before the FDR takes place, and, through no fault of their own, the 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, and delays can drive up costs and extend a stressful situation for both parties.

What is a Private FDR?


Becket Chambers can offer private early neutral evaluation, sometimes known as a Private FDR. As in a court FDR, the evaluator encourages the parties towards settlement and (unlike mediation) expresses a clear view on the likely outcome if the dispute were to go to court. However, there is no power to impose a settlement.

Our ENE service at Becket Chambers is a bespoke service that can be designed to meet the requirements of your individual case, with the ability for guidance to be provided for both simple issues as well as more complex ones. You can book as long or as short an appointment as needed.


The additional benefits of having a barrister conduct a Private FDR are:

  • They can happen before court proceedings are started or at any stage during the court process
  • Hearings can be arranged very quickly
  • Hearings can be held remotely (by phone or video conference)
  • The parties have the power to choose someone in whom they and their lawyers have confidence
  • Your barrister will have had the opportunity to read the papers and prepare for the occasion
  • The Private FDR can deal with all or any aspects of the dispute which the parties wish
  • The parties will hear from an independent evaluator and will know what they stand to lose or gain
  • Successful Private FDR settlement rate are better than court FDRs
  • The FDR can take place either at Becket Chambers or wherever else you wish. Our evaluators are happy to travel
  • A dedicated evaluator can be available for the entire day, enabling you to settle more than one issue in the same session

Private FDR Barristers

Our Family Law barristers are experts in all aspects of law covering children, matrimonial finance and property. We act for divorcing or separating couples, parents and other family and local authorities.

Philip Newton image
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Philip Newton

1984 (Middle Temple)

Christopher Wall image
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Christopher Wall

1987 (Lincolns Inn)

Sita Cox image
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Sita Cox

1987 (Middle Temple)

Clive Styles image
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Clive Styles

1990 (Grays Inn)

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Jane Carter

2001 (Inner Temple)

Melanie McIntosh image
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Melanie McIntosh

2002 (Lincolns Inn)

Sophie Gray image
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Sophie Gray

2012 (Lincolns Inn)


"Thank you again for your support within the hearing today, I am very grateful for your professionalism and it has been refreshing to be heard and for someone to be able to fight for me, instead of having to fight for the children myself- with no legal background, expertise, or knowledge at all!"

Client instructing Edward Kenny through Solicitors in Children Proceedings

"Just like to say thank you to you and Nathanael for all your hard work so far with my court case hearing."

Client instructing Nathanael Harding through solicitors

"Sita is outstanding. I can always rely on her to go above and beyond on every case I instruct her on."

Miss G from solicitors instructing Sita Cox

"That’s amazing, thank you for doing a great job. Client is over the moon."

Miss M from solicitors instructing Corey Mills

"Just a note to say she’s been fab on my case, I’ve been in contact more than I usually would as the client very vulnerable, and Cara looked after her brilliantly and with care."

Miss H from solicitors instructing Cara Radford

"Very happy today thank you.....Barrister was great, listened to me and put forward what he needed to."

Client instructing Chris Wall through Solicitors - July 23