Private FDR/Early Neutral Evaluation

No18 Chambers are delighted to be able to offer private FDR’s. FDR’s are fundamental part of the financial remedy process, giving parties the opportunity to resolve issues between them. It is a hearing for the purposes of discussion and negotiation. All parties have the opportunity to put their case to an evaluator, asking for realistic indications. An evaluator is then able to give an independent indication as to what is a fair settlement in accordance with the s25 criteria and what the court would likely order.

In the current environment, pressure on the courts results in parties waiting many months for a hearing date. This puts both emotional and financial pressure on the parties. A private FDR avoids long delays and allows sufficient time and expertise to assist the parties in reaching an agreement that can then be made into a final order.

As in a court FDR, the evaluator encourages the parties towards settlement giving a clear view on the likely outcome if the dispute were to go to court. This is not a tool that is simply used for the big money cases. This can be an effective tool for all cases. By limiting delay and litigation, all parties reduce their costs. 

The length of the private FDR can vary and parties may choose to be represented by solicitors or counsel. They can take place prior to proceedings being issued and if necessary can run in parallel.

The evaluator will give guidance on the range of options and outcomes. Matters can be discussed on without prejudice basis. If the parties agree matters, then a consent order can be drawn.

Early Neutral Evaluation is also available to parties in cohabitee and property disputes.

If budgets are tight, other options can be offered to reduce costs. No 18 Chambers can offer couples wishing to achieve a negotiated settlement can obtain a joint written advice or meet with a barrister at an early stage in conference to identify a fair order. The instruction can be limited to an indication on one key issue

The advantages of a No.18 Chambers private FDR provides:

  • Flexibility.
  • They can happen before court proceedings are started or at any stage during the court process.
  • There is very little delay in waiting for a date.
  • The parties have the power to choose an evaluator in whom they and their lawyers have confidence.
  • The evaluator is an expert who will have read the papers thoroughly in advance and who will be able to give the parties the time which they may need in order to resolve the dispute; and assistance with drafting if required.
  • The prospects of settlement are increased where the parties elect to have a private FDR as the facilitator will have pre-read the papers and will be available for the whole duration.
  • Where appropriate and the parties agree, it can be conducted on paper only.
  • If further time is needed on a different day, the parties can elect to continue the Private FDR without being reliant upon court listing.

Members available for such hearings are:


  • Lee Young (1991)
  • Ian Wheaton (2002)
  • Nigel Cholerton (2007) (admitted as a solicitors 2004)
  • Katherine Henry (2008)

Representation of the parties:

  • Gary Fawcett (1975)
  • Lee Young (1991)
  • Ian Wheaton (2002)
  • James Vatcher (2006)
  • Nigel Cholerton (2007)
  • Barnaby Large (2007)
  • Sarah Hirech (2012)
  • Claire Hook (2010)
  • Francis Payne (2014)
  • John Franklin (2016)
  • Amelia King (2016)
  • Rachel Chapman (2017)

THE TECHNOLOGY – Keeping it Simple

The use of remote technology has now been established and is in use daily in the court sphere. No.18 can offer all platforms for children, financial, civil and employment cases including but not limited to telephone, Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams. We can assist in organising an appropriate setup for your particular case.

No18 Chambers can offer as many meeting rooms as necessary but what would be envisaged would be including:

  • The evaluators room
  • Separate conference rooms for each team (where private discussion can take place)
  • The Negotiation room.
  • Private meeting room

It’s a simple process. We email a link to participants and with one click, each participant can join the video meeting conference or hearing. There is no need to subscribe to any software or download any ‘app’.

As always, barristers are well used to maintaining confidentiality between cases.