Monday, January 07, 2013

Financial Dispute Resolution Appointments: Best Practice Guidance

This one slipped under the radar, at least until Family Law Week flagged it up yesterday (I don't know why the Judiciary website failed to mention it as a news item on its front page).

Last month, the Money and Property Committee of the Family Justice Council published best practice guidance for financial dispute resolution appointments.

The rationale behind the Guidance is explained in the introduction:
"The purpose of this note is to provide helpful practical advice on a number of issues raised in relation to the preparation, conduct and aftermath of FDRs with the aim of improving consistency and, it is hoped, the parties’ experience of what is, perhaps, the most important stage of financial remedy proceedings."
The introduction goes on to explain:
"Much of what follows will be familiar to experienced practitioners, but this is, we believe, the first time such material has been drawn together for the benefit of all who work in this difficult field."
The Guidance comprises eight parts:

  • Establishing the ground rules - including suggested advice to clients, explaining the scope and purpose of the FDR Appointment.
  • Preparing for the FDR - including not only complying with rules and directions, but also good practice.
  • Documentation - including the contents of position statements.
  • Conduct of the FDR Appointment - including dealing with offers.
  • The role of the judge - including a suggested approach for judges to take to FDRs.
  • Reaching agreement - preparing a consent order, or heads of agreement.
  • Failing to reach agreement - including what directions should be given.
  • A note about costs - essentially, a reminder about the costs rules in relation to financial remedy cases.

The Guidance can be found here.

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