The final report in Lord Justice Jackson’s year-long costs review was published on 14 January 2010.
Lord Justice Jackson does not recommend any rule changes in relation to ADR. Instead he emphasises the need to educate practitioners and the public about ADR more efficiently. He recommends that an authoritative ADR handbook of equivalent status to the annual publications on civil procedure be prepared by a neutral body (ideally the Civil Justice Council). This would give details of all reputable mediation providers, although no formal accreditation scheme is recommended. The handbook should be used as the standard text for training and educating judges and lawyers. In tandem, a simple and clear brochure should be prepared to educate the public and small businesses about ADR.
We endorse the call for further education, whilst recognising that ADR processes are flexible, developing and should not be curtailed. Accordingly, in our opinion, any handbook should not constitute a blueprint that limits the flexibility of ADR processes.
Lord Justice Jackson emphasises his view that, despite its many benefits, parties should never be compelled to mediate. We agree with this approach. In the commercial context the parties are well able to determine whether a mediation should take place and at what stage. Nonetheless the judiciary continue to have an important role to play in promoting mediation in appropriate cases, even within the commercial context.