Importance of alternative dispute resolutions

‘'Lord Woolf was right to stress the importance of alternative dispute resolution obtaining settlement of civil claims, since very few need ever come to court'' Discuss.

In this essay, the importance of alternative dispute resolutions (ADR) in order to obtain a settlement of a civil claim will be discussed. The statement is strongly supported by Lord Woolf who after years of research wrote a report called ‘Access to Justice'. From this, in April 1999 the Civil Procedure Act was passed in order to update the civil court system to a more modernised twentieth-century-friendly system.

The main purpose behind this act was to change the attitude of lawyers in the civil court systems who, according to Lord Woolf's report were manipulating the old court system for their own convenience, which in turn resulted in high expenses and wastage of time to the users of the systems. The change from old fashioned English rules to plain English would slowly bring the idea of the legalistic, technical interpretation of words which were designed to cause controversy between the parties involved so a win-lose attitude was taken on rather than a more fair and open attitude which was encouraged by Lord Woolf.

Alternatives to the civil legal system would bring the legal bills down by 75% which is a large amount compared to the amount being spent at the moment. However, this would reduce the number of employees taken on by the court systems as there would be less cases actually going through the legal system. The new system therefore would not be liked by lawyers already in working in the court system. This could result in lawyers not talking to the parties involved in a dispute to go through the ADR process.

In the year 2000, a MORI poll was executed where 100 solicitors took part. The results showed that 76% of the solicitors thought that the reforms played a vital role in decreasing the number of cases going through litigation.

What is ADR? What's it purpose and why does it exist?

ADR stands for ‘Alternative Dispute Resolutions'. It provides an alternative method of resolving an issue rather than going through civil litigation. The idea was taken and utilised from the American legal system in the 1990s where it is commonly used as an alternative to going through the whole court process which involves a county court or a high court depending on the value of the claim where any claim under the value of £15,000 must start in the county court. It was supported by a few Lord Chancellors for example; Lord__ ____and_____________ The purpose of this is to firstly cut down on the number of cases actually going through the civil court system which in turn would make the court system a much speedier process as most disagreements can be resolved by a simple discussion because it is likely that there is some kind of misunderstanding between the two parties which causes the hostility in the first place. This is usually the case as some cases are resolved before they even reach court. ADR is also a less costly way of settling a dispute as there are no court costs involved and the main cost involved is the wage of the _________________. Court trials

What does it do? What types of claims/ problems does ADR tackle?

How much power do ADR mechanisms have e.g. how are they linked to or associated with the courts? Does ADR have any influence on the courts and if so how does it affect the court system?

Why is it important or not important in your opinion?

From your research, do you agree with the statement that ‘very few civil claims need ever come to court?' Why, or why not?

You should research the area and give your own opinion based on supporting research.