The guidance, which features a foreword by the renowned Lord Justice Thorpe, was designed 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 continues:
“Although now a familiar part of most financial proceedings in family cases, it is clear that parties’ experiences of the FDR process vary considerably across the country. Training has been provided for practitioners and judges by professional organisations and the Judicial College, but differences of practice remain and there has hitherto been a lack of cohesive guidance as to ‘best practice’ for professionals and judges preparing and conducting FDRs.”
The document covers such topics as preparation for and conduct of the FDR, the role of the judge and what to do if an agreement is not reached.
FDRs are a central stage in family proceedings, taking place after the completion of all disclosures and valuations. The judge looks at the monetary offers which have already been made and attempts to negotiate a settlement. Most cases are settled at this stage.