THE LORD Chancellor's Department has pledged in a new initiative that mediation or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) will be used wherever possible instead of litigation.
Standard Government contracts will now include clauses on using ADR, and its departments will also improve flexibility over compensation, including using independent assessment instead of the courts.
Certain cases will be exempted, such as intentional wrongdoing and abuse of power, public law, human rights and "vexatious litigants".
Christopher Style, head of litigation at Linklaters & Alliance's London office, says: "This brings the Government into line with best practice and it's a clever PR spin. An obligation to explore consentual mediation is very common in a wide range of contracts."
Barlow Lyde and Gilbert's litigation expert Richard Spafford believes that using ADR often means that cases are "settled more cheaply and in less time".