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

CEDR Mediation Audit results: The post-pandemic state of civil mediation

The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) has released the results of its latest Mediation Audit, the first since the start of the pandemic. For the past 20 years, CEDR’s biennial surveys of mediators have provided a snapshot of civil and commercial mediation in the UK, identifying key trends and developments.  The latest survey received … Read more

Mandatory mediation: Insights from the LCAM-HSF survey

Herbert Smith Freehills recently partnered with the London Chamber of Arbitration and Mediation (LCAM) to  survey a cross-section of the dispute resolution community on attitudes to compulsory mediation in arbitration and mediation. The results indicate that there seems to be support for some degree of mandatory mediation in both litigation and arbitration, but that effective … Read more