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Counsel Led Dispute Resolution

St Ives Chambers is pioneering the use of the "Private FDR" in the Midlands. This enables both parties to get an early view of the merits of their case from an experienced practitioner who is instructed jointly on a neutral basis.

The meeting will be conducted in a similar way to the Court FDR with experienced Matrimonial Counsel acting as the FDR Judge, hearing representations and giving a considered view as to the likely outcome or, in some cases, the likely range of possible outcomes should the matter be litigated. As with a Judge at a Court Based FDR Counsel cannot determine the case and the indication is not binding but it does provide a useful opportunity to narrow the issues or resolve the matter without protracted litigation.

The benefits of this scheme are clear:

  • The cost is shared equally between the parties as Counsel is instructed on a joint basis
  • An early resolution may be achieved
  • The parties have more control over the "Private FDR" and are able to ask questions and make further representations if required
  • Counsel conducting the “Private FDR” will have the opportunity to consider the papers in much greater detail than the busy Court FDR Judge
  • Counsel will have the opportunity to consider the papers well in advance of the meeting and will be able to identify any missing information
  • As with the Court Based FDR all discussions are on a without prejudice basis
  • The "Private FDR" can be conducted at a time which is convenient to all parties and can be extended or rescheduled for further discussions
  • Counsel can be asked to draw up the order / heads of agreement to be signed by both parties


At present, we have 3 Counsel who offer themselves for this service with plans to increase this number in 2011:

  • Michael Keehan QC (Deputy High Court Judge)
  • Jayne Mullen (Deputy District Judge)
  • Nicholas Starks


For further information about CLDR and to request a CLDR Instruction Pack please contact Chambers' or Family Clerk Sarah Robinson.

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