The following Dispute Resolution guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
This Practice Note considers the pressures on the court to encourage alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and provides detail of the Small Claims Mediation Service, the Civil Mediation Directory and the Court of Appeal ADR schemes. Depending on the court in which your matter is proceeding, you may also need to be mindful of additional provisions—see further below.
As seen in Practice Note: ADR—pre-action and post-commencement of court proceedings, the courts have a general interest in encouraging the use of ADR to resolve disputes is borne out by the CPR themselves, namely CPR 1.4(2)(e) which requires the court, as part of its active case management duty, to encourage the parties to use an ADR procedure if the court considers that appropriate and facilitating the use of such procedure.
In addition, pursuant to CPR 3.1(2)(m) the court has the power to take any other step or make any other order for the purpose of managing the case and furthering the overriding objective, which includes hearing an Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) with the aim of helping the parties settle (see Practice Note: Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE)—Judicial ENE).
See also Practice Note: Settling disputes—what, when and why settle?—Encouraging settlement—the role of the CPR.
Over the last few years there have been continued attempts to encourage and facilitate the use of ADR, including the introduction of various court schemes.
In February 2012, the government issued its paper entitled:
Solving disputes in the County Courts.
In relation to mediation the government's plans included:
introducing automatic referral to mediation for all small claims (the limit for
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