The government has launched a new Dispute Resolution Commitment, which renews and strengthens the ADR Pledge made in 2001. The Commitment’s objective is to show how the government intends to lead by example in using “better, quicker and more efficient ways of resolving legal disputes”.

The Commitment and guidance for government departments and agencies can be viewed here, and the government’s press release here.The commitments include:

  • Being proactive in the management of potential disputes and in working to prevent disputes arising or escalating, in order to avoid the need to resort to the use of formal dispute mechanisms wherever possible;
  • Adopting appropriate dispute resolution clauses in contracts with other parties;
  • Using prompt, cost effective and efficient processes for completing negotiations and resolving disputes;
  • Choosing processes appropriate in style and proportionate in costs to the issues that need to be resolved;
  • Recognising that the use of appropriate dispute resolution processes can often avoid the high cost in time and resources of going to court; and
  • Educating employees and officials in appropriate dispute resolution techniques, in order to enable the best possible chance of success when using them.