New Year Resolution
The year ended with the Civil Justice Council publishing its recommendations on ADR. The big question in this pre-Brexit period of governmental paralysis is whether anything will happen? Will it merely be another report lost in the long grass of the MoJ? Indications are that it will not be.
Master of the Rolls, CJC Chair
On publication the CJC confirmed that its chair, the Master of the Rolls, was already implementing the recommendation to set up a Judicial-ADR liaison Committee. This indication of support reflects a wider judicial recognition that parties to litigation want resolution of the dispute. Trial is the necessary end-game but there has been a change of judicial philosophy over a period of years – case directions are aimed at managing a case to resolution not trial. There are many indications confirming this including speeches by the Lord Chief Justice, the inclusion by Jackson LJ of specific allowances for fixed costs sums in an Intermediate Track, the extension of adjudication to the Professional Negligence Pre-Action Protocol, "facilitation" (ie assisted mediation by a Case Officer) at Stage 2 of the Online Court as well as the swift adoption by the CJC of the report itself.
Earlier settlements, assisted by ADR also afford the Court Service the very practical consequence of easing pressure on limited judicial resources.
So predictions for 2019 include the fact that there will be implementation of many of the CJC recommendations, more emphasis on ADR and more mediations. Future blogs will consider some of the detail of the recommendations and implications for practitioners.
 ADR and Civil Justice, Civil Justice ADR Working Group, Final Report (November 2018)