Resolution Outside of Court
Whenever possible at Viberts we try to steer clients away from the court process and towards the various dispute resolution methods.
In all cases we will consider the best method for each client which includes:
We have the necessary training in collaboration law. The aim of this method is to discuss and hopefully resolve issues in a series of four-way meetings between clients and lawyers. This method can be hugely beneficial for opening up dialogue and finding solutions to the issues.
In more straightforward cases, it may be useful for clients to attend sessions at the Jersey Family Mediation Service. However, many clients will want, or need, ‘lawyer-led’ mediation, where an experienced lawyer (usually from London) carries out the mediation. The costs are shared between parties and the method has a high success rate.
Family Dispute Resolution (“FDR”)
This has become an increasingly popular and effective tool to encourage settlement between parties. An FDR can be either private or court led. In a private FDR the parties will pay for a qualified, experienced, lawyer to attend the FDR who acts as a “judge” but rather than making decisions, he or she will give guidance to the parties as to what they think a court would order if the matter was to go to a final hearing. A court-led FDR is where a judge will sit to hear the hearing. This will be a different judge to the one you would have if you are unable to reach settlement and the matter proceeded to a final hearing.
An FDR will take place after the parties have exchanged financial disclosure to allow the parties to understand what assets available and what liabilities have to be dealt with.
This indication will give the parties some useful insight into how strong their respective cases and will hopefully narrow the gap between the parties’ positions. The parties then have time to try and reach an agreement. This form of dispute resolution is especially effective where there are legal arguments which the parties are unable to resolve without a court making a decision about it.
It is not possible for issues of fact to be resolved at an FDR as the parties do not give evidence as they would in a final hearing. However, the “Judge” may give some indications as to what they think the documents that have been filed may be interpreted by the court.
The Jersey court has also recently introduced Court FDRs where the Registrar who doesn’t have conduct of your case will hear the FDR and provide an indication. Although these have only been introduced recently, they have generated a relatively high success rate.
This is more akin to the court route in that the party’s hand over responsibility for the decision-making to a third party (again normally a qualified lawyer-arbitrator from the UK). It has significant benefits over going to court as the process can be adapted to suit each case and it is cheaper and quicker than contested court proceedings.
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Legal 500 2022