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Private FDR's and DRA's

12 June 2019

Private FDR's and DRA's

Zenith Chambers is proud to be the first barristers’ chambers in Leeds now offering a full private FDR service (Financial Dispute Resolution) for financial remedy cases and a full private DRA (Dispute Resolution Appointment) service for children cases, with a choice of counsel and location.  

We are committed to ensuring that our clients are able to choose the best means of resolution of their family law disputes, and can now offer mediation, collaborative law and private FDRs and DRAs, in addition to our traditional advice and representation services.

A private FDR in matrimonial or other Family Finance disputes will be conducted by specialist financial remedy Counsel. A private DRA in disputes about children will be conducted by specialist private children law Counsel, including those who sit as judges in these cases. 

Private FDRs and DRAs can be held in Zenith’s centrally-located chambers or at a location of the parties’ choice anywhere in the UK, ensuring that the venue is both comfortable and convenient.

Objective of the FDR and the DRA 

To assist parties to resolve cases by agreement through an ‘early neutral evaluation’ of the likely outcome should the case progress to a final hearing. 

Why consider a private FDR or DRA? 

The court service is overstretched, and beset with delay and inefficiency. 

This can give rise to an unnecessarily lengthy wait, often many months, between the first appointment and FDR, and between the FHDRA and court DRA. 

All too frequently, court FDRs and court DRAs are listed before judges who have had insufficient time to read the papers properly and have little time on the day to assist the parties, or before a deputy district judge who has limited, if any, experience of financial remedy or private children litigation. 

The allocation of judge to hear the FDR or DRA is completely unpredictable, even when a judge has listed it before themselves. 

Some court centres on circuit continue to list FDRs and DRAs as afternoon appointments, which places substantial additional pressure on the parties through the limited allocation of court time. 

Within the court process, it is necessary to be already in proceedings for an FDR or a DRA to take place, and to comply with the standard court timetable, even where full disclosure may have been exchanged many months before.

What are the advantages of a private FDR or DRA? 

It will be conducted by Counsel who: 

- you and your client have chosen, 

- is a specialist in the field in question, whether financial remedies, financial provision for children, TOLATA or private law children disputes, 

- has thoroughly read the pre-hearing papers and prepared for the day, 

- has sufficient time to consider and reflect upon each party’s position, so as to provide a fair and meaningful neutral evaluation of the case, 

- can assist throughout the day as required and as negotiations progress. 

Each FDR and DRA will be listed for one day (comparable with hearings before a High Court judge in the Family Court) which provides a more measured timescale for the FDR/DRA and for subsequent negotiations to take place. 

We can offer second or subsequent Private FDR hearings where negotiations are continuing. 

We can also offer a pre-proceedings private FDR service, particularly important for those considering whether to issue proceedings. 

Our facilities 

We have spacious meeting rooms available in which to conduct your private FDR, as well as private rooms for discussion with your representatives. If required, these rooms can be available for your use throughout the day until the conclusion of the process. There is no additional charge for use of our chambers’ facilities and refreshments. 

The team and fees 

All fees are based on max two lever arch files, and are for a full day. 

Finance: 

Name                                                    Year of Call                                        Fee 

Anthony Hajimitsis                                   1984                                     £2500-3000 + VAT 

Roger Bickerdike                                      1986                                     £2500-3000 + VAT 

Dornier Whittaker                                     1994                                        £2000 + VAT 

Marisa Allman                                          1998                                        £2000 + VAT 

Children: 

Name                                                    Year of Call                                        Fee 

Jayne Pye                                                 1995                                   £2500-3000 + VAT 
Admitted as a solicitor in 1985 
Sits as a Deputy District Judge and Recorder determining private law cases

John Myers                                              2007                                    £2500-3000 + VAT
Admitted as a solicitor in 1978

Marisa Allman                                          1998                                        £2000 + VAT

Louise McCallum                                     1999                                        £2000 + VAT 
Sits as a Recorder determining private law cases

Please contact Rebecca Hartley, Senior Family Clerk for further information about Private FDR's or DRA's.

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