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Open offers after FDRs: is 21 days too soon?

Date:23 APR 2020
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Family lawyer

Changes in the Family Procedure Rules (FPR) were announced in February 2020 including from a consultation in summer 2019 about costs in family law proceedings.  One significant change is a requirement for open offers to be made 21 days after the FDR or such other period as the court may direct.  In most cases 21 days will be far too early.  What issues arise and what good practice can be put in place by the profession and judiciary? 

Background to the rule change

The Family Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2020 amend the FPR and mostly come into effect from 6 April 2020 although in a few respects including the rule below on 6 July 2020.  A couple of the changes concerning costs will have a significant impact on lawyers; this includes providing the court with an estimate of the costs incurred by a solicitor with their client both before and now beyond the hearing itself.

One element concerns the making of open offers.  The new rule at clause 13 says as follows:

  1. 13.  After rule 9.27 (estimates of costs) insert—


    “Duty to make open proposals after a FDR appointment or where...

Read the full article here.