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Brave new world for civil litigators: get ready for dispute resolution ‘family style’

Gareth Ledsham prepares civil law practitioners for embracing judge-led dispute resolution through FDR processes

8 August 2019

For those practising in civil litigation, the family court and its differing rules and procedures can for many be the stuff of nightmares.

However, civil practitioners may need to face their fears sooner than they think as family dispute resolution mechanisms are on the march into the civil world.

This is the view of High Court Judge Mrs Justice Parker expressed in Lomax v Lomax [2019] EWHC 1267 (Fam).

She has called upon the Rules committee to clarify whether an early neutral evaluation (ENE)/financial dispute resolution (FDR) hearing can be ordered without the consent of both parties; and to give consideration to providing a clear route to compulsory financial dispute resolution in appropriate non-family civil proceedings.

The decision, which was handed down in May 2019, concerned an Inheritance Act dispute between a widow and stepson in which the widow wanted to engage in an FDR process. However, the stepson did not agree.

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