Without prejudice rule: High Court emphasises narrow scope of exceptions

A recent High Court decision is of interest for its discussion of several of the recognised exceptions to the “without prejudice” (WP) protection which usually applies to settlement negotiations: Ocean on Land Technology (UK) Ltd v Land [2024] EWHC 396 (IPEC). The decision highlights that: the burden is on the party seeking to establish that an … Read more

High Court refuses to stay proceedings commenced in breach of valid ADR clause

In a recent decision, the High Court held that a dispute resolution clause in a project agreement created a binding obligation on the parties to refer any disputes to an out-of-court adjudication process, as a pre-condition to commencing litigation. However, exercising its discretion, it refused to order a stay of proceedings that had been commenced … Read more

Article published – UK compulsory mediation ruling still leaves courts leeway

The Court of Appeal’s landmark judgment in Churchill v Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, handed down in late November, established that the courts can order parties to mediate or engage in some other form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), overturning what was thought to be a long-standing English law prohibition on courts compelling ADR. The decision … Read more

Pre-action protocols: Civil Justice Council recommends mandatory pre-action ADR but will consider a more flexible bespoke protocol for commercial cases

In a recent report, a Civil Justice Council (CJC) working group has recommended substantial changes to the regime of pre-action protocols (PAPs) which parties are expected to follow before civil proceedings are commenced in the English courts. The thrust of the proposals is to give PAPs more “teeth” by: making their requirements mandatory and formalising … Read more

UK government confirms plans for compulsory mediation in the County Court and decides against statutory regulation of the mediation sector

The UK government has announced that it is proceeding with plans to introduce compulsory mediation as a mandatory procedural step in all Small Claims in the County Court.  All parties in cases allocated to the Small Claims track (ie most claims valued below £10,000) will be required to attend a free mediation appointment with a … Read more