Amendments to the FPR to encourage non-court dispute resolution (NCDR)

The Family Procedure (Amendment No 2) Rules 2023 (SI 2023/1324) will come into force partly on 8th April 2024 and partly on 29th April 2024. A new FPR 3.3(1A) will allow the court to require parties to file and serve a form stating their views on using non-court dispute resolution to resolve matters raised in the proceedings.’

The definition of NCDR at FPR 2.3(1)(b) has been widened to mean ‘methods of resolving a dispute other than through the court process, including but not limited to mediation, arbitration, evaluation by a neutral third party (such as a private FDR process) and collaborative law’.

Part 3.9(2)(e) will be amended to impose a statutory requirement at an MIAM that the MIAM provider will ‘indicate to those attending the MIAM which form, or forms of non-court dispute resolution may be most suitable as a means of resolving the dispute and why’ and ‘provide information to those attending the MIAM about how to proceed with the form, or forms, of non-court dispute resolution in question.’

From 29 April 2024, an amended FPR 3.4(1A) will provide that where ‘the timetabling of proceedings allows sufficient time for these steps to be taken,’ the court may adjourn the proceedings to ‘encourage parties’ to ‘undertake non-court dispute resolution.’ The agreement of the parties will, therefore, no longer be required.

An amended rule 28.3(7) provides for the court to consider, as a matter of conduct, when determining whether to make an order for costs in financial remedy proceedings, any failure of a party to attend an MIAM or attend non-court dispute resolution.

There are also amendments to modify or remove certain exemptions from the requirement to attend an MIAM and provide for the court to consider whether a validly claimed MIAM exemption is no longer applicable.


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