Private FDRs at Tanfield Chambers

24th March 2020

On Friday 20th March 2020 guidance was sent to all London FRC Judges regarding the conduct of proceedings during the current public health crisis.  The guidance is clear – physical hearings should only take place where this is unavoidable.  The London Courts will be going remote for the foreseeable future.  It also made plain that London’s capacity to deal with large numbers of remote hearings is limited.  This is going to significantly impact upon financial remedy proceedings.  Included in the guidance is that “All FDRs should if possible be dealt with by way of private FDR”.

Tanfield Chambers are able to offer remote hearing private FDRs for an Early Neutral Evaluation for your clients.  If your FDR hearing has been adjourned as a result of the public health crisis and you are keen for an effective private FDR before your disclosure becomes stale and requires updating we may be able to help at short notice.  If you are approaching a First Appointment you should consider a private FDR as one of the Court directions in your First Appointment order.

The following members of the Private Client team are available to conduct remote private FDRs.

Kerstin Boyd (Call 1979) has a wealth of experience in financial remedy proceedings and is recommended in Chambers & Partners.

Gerald Wilson (Call 1989) is recommended in both Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 for matrimonial finance. He has particular experience in dealing with cases involving interveners. He is also available to conduct Early Neutral Evaluations in trusts of land and Inheritance Act claims.

Olivia Murphy (Call 2001) is a Deputy District Judge with a financial remedies ticket (pilot scheme) who sits on the Western Circuit and is available for private FDRs.

How they will work:

  • Private FDRs are a considerably better service than the Courts are able to offer litigants, even at the best of times.
  • A private FDR is a two day booking – the papers must be emailed by the morning the day before the booking. A PD27A compliant bundle to be provided by the litigants is requested to be provided by 9am the day prior and any Counsel’s note/ position statements by 11am in the usual way.
  • Your private FDR judge will read the papers the day prior to the day of the Private FDR.  As all practitioners will be aware, this is not a service afforded to litigants appearing before District Judges in the Courts.
  • The FDR can be conducted via video conferencing (Zoom is our suggested provider) supported on any computer or handheld device. Other remote conferencing facilities can be considered and accommodated.
  • The FDR will be conducted remotely and your private FDR judge will be available to the parties and their representatives all day. A full indication will be given after the parties have made their representations and further indications can be given throughout the day on specific issues where necessary.
  • Currently, this is a wholly remote procedure, with no attendance in accordance with the guidelines that are being issues by both the Bar Council, the President of the Family Division and Lead Judge of the London Family Remedies Court.
Expertise: Private Client


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