Arbitration provides an alternative to the court process when dealing with financial or children issues upon divorce or separation.

An arbitrator is often an experienced barrister or solicitor who has undertaken training as an arbitrator. He or she is appointed to make a decision that will be final and binding upon the parties in relation to the issue or issues in dispute.

Private FDRs and ENEs ("early neutral evaluation) are out of court, private hearings, at which a judge/evaluator gives a view on the likely outcome of the case to assist the parties in reaching an agreement. The judge/evaluator is privately appointed by the parties. Their view is not binding, however these private hearings can be highly effective in enabling people to reach an early settlement.


  • gives parties a choice: you can choose the arbitrator who is right for the issues in your case and who has the relevant expertise
  • offers a set timescale and convenience: you can set your own timescale, arranging hearings for times and dates that suit you both, and knowing that there will be no unnecessary delays or adjournments. You can also choose the venue.
  • isconfidential - hearings are conducted in private and therefore it is an excellent process for people seeking a legal determination without the risk of publicity
  • is bespoke: you can choose which issues you need the arbitrator to rule on. Arbitration can be useful, for example, where one or two issues remain unresolved from another process (mediation, for example).

Arbitration is not for everyone. Ultimately, it involves a decision being made for you. If you prefer to reach your own decision, another option, such as mediation, collaborative law or negotiation, may be more appropriate, or indeed the option of having a priavte FDR or ENE (early neutral evaluation). However, arbitration is a valuable process for those who seek a private, bespoke non-court determination.

Private FDR and Early Neutral Evaluation

A Private Financial Dispute Resolution hearing (FDR) or  an Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE), can be a very useful way to achieve an early resolution ofissues upon divorce or separation. Private FDRs are used in the resolution of financial issues, whilst ENE is used in children cases.

At a private FDR or Early Neutral Evaluation or private FDR, the private FDR judge or early neutral evaluator hears submissions from each party as to how they see their case, before giving an indication as to what he or she thinks would be an appropriate outcome.

This indication is not binding but, on the basis that the private FDR judge/evaluator is jointly appointed, the parties will need to think carefully before disregarding it.

Advantages of the process

  • The private FDR or ENE can take place at any time before court proceedings are started - or at any stage during the court process. This is particularly valuable given the significant delays in the court process at present.
  • The parties choose a private FDR judge/ evaluator in whom they and their lawyers have confidence. You can also choose where you would like the private FDR/evaluation to take place.
  • The private FDR/ evaluator will have had the opportunity to read the papers and prepare for the occasion. Sometimes, in a court-based FDR or other dispute resolution hearing in court, the judge will have little time to read the papers, which can mean their input might be less effective
  • The private FDR or ENE can deal with all or any aspects of the dispute which the parties wish.
Make an Appointment

We offer meetings (subject to our Covid procedures) at our offices or, if you prefer, appointments by video conferencing including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, and other platforms. We have been undertaking online client appointments, remote court hearings, online mediation, conferences and settlement meetings throughout the pandemic and are very familiar with using a wide range of online platforms.

To make an initial appointment please complete the online submission form in the box below, or if you would rather speak to a member of
our team directly please call 01243 769001.