The Civil Justice Council in 2016 established a Working Group to review the ways in which Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is at present encouraged and positioned within the civil justice system in England and Wales.
ADR techniques include mediation, conciliation, neutral evaluation and arbitration but the principal process considered by the Working Group was that of mediation. The Group published their final report on 4th December 2018.
Some of the key recommendations of the report include a focus on promoting public awareness of ADR, including a new website to act as a single umbrella service offering information about the different types of ADR. Other recommendations centre on making ADR more readily available and the regulation of the professionals involved. The third area of focus is the encouragement of ADR by the Government and Courts. While the CJC (the advisory public body to the Lord Chancellor on civil justice and procedure)
has stopped short of recommending that ADR should be compulsory, the report does recommend that there should be a ‘perception that formal ADR should be attempted before a trial can be made available’ and that the possibility of applying sanctions for not taking reasonable steps towards settlement and ADR should be explored.
Another key recommendation is the creation of a permanent Judicial-ADR liaison committee which will ensure that there is consistent and regular monitoring of ADR in a rapidly changing civil justice world, whilst ensuring the recommendations of the report are implemented. Raising awareness of ADR amongst the general public and professions should play a significant role in combatting the general ignorance around the existence and opportunities offered by ADR.
For further information contact Christine Bowyer-Jones on 020 7400 5027 or click here to email Christine.