Private financial dispute resolution appointments and early neutral evaluation
Produced in partnership with Rhys Taylor MCIArb of The 36 Group and 30 Park Place
Private financial dispute resolution appointments and early neutral evaluation

The following Family practice note produced in partnership with Rhys Taylor MCIArb of The 36 Group and 30 Park Place provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Private financial dispute resolution appointments and early neutral evaluation
  • What is private early neutral evaluation?
  • Origins of ENE as a dispute resolution technique
  • Guidance and support for private ENEs
  • Relationship between the ENE and the court process
  • Agreement for an ENE
  • Selecting a tribunal
  • Impartiality of the tribunal
  • Conduct of the ENE
  • Factual disputes in ENE
  • More...

This Practice Note provides guidance on private financial dispute resolution appointments (FDRs), or early neutral evaluation (ENE). It considers guidance on and judicial support for private FDRs, entering into an agreement for a private FDR/ENE, issues as to procedure, the relationship between an ENE and the court process and selecting a suitable person for the private FDR/ENE. It also looks at the conduct of an ENE, the skills required, when it may be used in civil or chancery cases and when the process may not be appropriate.

The FDR appointment process is provided for in Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010), SI 2010/2955, 9.17 and FPR 2010, PD 9A. An FDR is a cross between a judge-led early neutral evaluation and a joint settlement/negotiation meeting. It is designed to assist the parties to a dispute to narrow or resolve absolutely their differences. It is not mediation, but dispute resolution techniques deployed in mediation are sometimes used at an FDR. See Practice Notes: Preparation for the financial dispute resolution appointment and Conduct of the financial dispute resolution appointment.

Practice points for FDRs have been issued by the Family Justice Council, see: Financial Dispute Resolution Appointments: Best Practice Guidance (December 2012).

It is a fundamental principle that FDR discussions are protected by without prejudice privilege. FPR 2010, PD 9A, para 6.2 states:

‘In order for the FDR to be effective,

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