Our justice system is
incredibly busy and in my experience, Judges and court staff work extremely
hard, but delays and time constraints are common features because of demands on
the court service. Covid-19 with its first Lockdown in March 2020, caused
unprecedented disruption to workplaces everywhere and whilst the courts and
court-users adapted admirably to remote working, timetables were heavily
Having decided to leave
judicial office,the idea grew of conducting private FDRs as an effective
alternative to court-based FDRs because there are just so many benefits to them
taking place outside court.
Private FDRs are supported by the Judiciary as they reduce pressure on the court service, avoid delays and maximise opportunity to reach agreement. In March 2020, Mr Justice Mostyn, National Lead Judge of the FRC (Financial Remedies Court) issued guidance encouraging the use of private FDRs and anecdotal evidence suggests they are increasingly popular (especially since Covid) with a high settlement rate.
On February 24th 2021, the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, observed that an increasing number of people are opting for private FDRs adding "I very much welcome this development. Private FDRs appear to have very high rate of success".