Private Financial Dispute Resolution Appointment (PFDR)

What is an FDR?

A Financial Dispute Resolution Appointment is usually the second hearing listed when an application is made to Court to resolve the finances on divorce or civil partnership dissolution.

The purpose of the hearing is to encourage and assist the parties to reach a settlement. The Judge will not make a final or binding decision on behalf of the parties. Instead, they will provide an indication or guidance as to what that particular Judge feels is a fair outcome. The Judge will remind parties of the money they have spent on legal costs and experts and urge the parties to bring the matter to a conclusion by reaching an agreement.

What is a Private FDR?

An alternative is to opt for a Private FDR which is an alternative dispute resolution method and takes place outside of Court. Both parties will agree on which professional will consider the matter (this is usually a solicitor, senior barrister or retired judge); the parties will pay privately for the services and the ‘hearing’ will take place at a much more comfortable and informal venue than a Court room such as a conference room.

Like an FDR at Court, the PFDR ‘Judge’ hearing the case will not make a binding decision. Instead they provide a clear view about a fair outcome.

The benefits of choosing a Private FDR

  • The parties can choose their own process including, as mentioned above, which professional they will engage to ‘hear’ the case. A solid and helpful indication from a chosen professional who you have paid for can be the difference between a settlement being reached and the case finalised or not.
  • Court resources are extremely stretched meaning that the process can take between 12-24 months. Having legal representation throughout the proceedings can also be expensive so opting for a Private FDR can be significantly more time and cost effective.
  • You can choose the location and time of the Private FDR. This means the matter can be heard in a much more informal setting and can also be arranged outside of normal office hours. If both parties feel more comfortable this can make it more likely that they will be able to reach a settlement.
  • You do not have to go to the expense of an FDR and a PFDR. If you choose the PFDR, then the FDR in proceedings can be bypassed.

The disadvantages of choosing a Private FDR

  • The parties will have to pay for the services of engaging a professional for the Private FDR.  However investing in the process in this way, will make parties much more focused to reach an agreement.
  • If you are unable to reach a settlement at the PFDR, then the case will need to be referred back to Court who will then list the matter for final hearing.

Private FDRs are becoming more popular for various reasons for parties resolving finances on divorce. If you are seeking to resolve matters as swiftly as possible, this can be a great option to consider. If you would like any further information about Private FDRs, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our family team at

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