Where a dispute is unavoidable it does not have to be just about litigation through the courts. Cases that can only be resolved by a judge at trial are rare, and there is almost always a better way to resolve a dispute, often using alternative dispute resolution procedures ("ADR") . We provide advice in relation to every possible means of resolving a dispute and are highly experienced in resolving claims through ADR.
Arbitration - this is a process where the parties to a dispute jointly instruct an independent third party to act as an arbitrator. The arbitration process is private. The arbitrator's decision is normally final and binding and can be enforced by application to the courts as if it were a judgment.
Mediation - this is a process to resolve disputes without the need to go to court. It involves using an independent third party, a mediator, who assists both sides to come to an agreement. The mediator remains neutral throughout the process. Mediation is a consensual process and will only take place if both parties agree. Either party can withdraw from mediation at any time and do not have to accept any proposed solution.
Expert determination - this is a flexible and efficient procedure for the resolution of disputes based upon the decision of an independent third party, the expert. The parties jointly instruct an expert to decide the matter in question, which can be at any stage and to decide any aspect. The powers of the expert are agreed as a matter of contract between the parties. The expert's decision is binding and there is no right of appeal.
Adjudication - this is a statutory procedure by which any party to a contract within the construction industry, the telecommunications industry or regarding the installation of security systems has a right to have a dispute decided by an adjudicator. An adjudicator is either jointly appointed by the parties, or the parties jointly agree to instruct a body to appoint an adjudicator. The process is intended to be quicker and more cost effective than High Court or arbitration proceedings. The adjudicator must generally decide on the dispute in less than 42 days. The decision is binding on the parties unless appealed to the court, which is very rare.
Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) - this is a process which provides parties in dispute with an early confidential evaluation of the legal merits of a dispute. ENE focuses specifically on the key issues raised by the facts of a case and the relevant law. A judge reviews all of the available evidence and gauges what is likely to happen at a trial. The ruling is without prejudice and is non-binding; it is an effective way of facilitating an out of court settlement of a high-value case prior to a formal judicial ruling.
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