Legal disputes are increasingly being dealt with by ADR. This includes:
In property disputes this will be civil mediation. This has the advantage that a client need not see the person with whom they are in dispute, if they do not wish to do so. The mediator facilitates the negotiations and often a resolution is reached. I have represented and assisted many clients in civil mediations.
An alternative and more cost effective option may be to organise a “round table meeting” at which the parties are represented but there is no mediator. This can also often result in an acceptable outcome for the parties.
Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE)
An expert opinion is provided to the parties as to the merits of their respective cases with the evaluator instructed by both parties effectively as a joint expert. It can be very helpful where the one is primarily a legal issue, for example, whether a party is likely to succeed in establishing that they have a beneficial interest in property. It can be provided either in writing or in conference.
Private Financial Dispute Resolution / Chancery Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR)
The court process will usually include a FDR or Chancery FDR in non-matrimonial cases, at which a non-binding opinion is provided by a Judge (usually a District Judge) who will then be barred from sitting in any final hearing. A private FDR is effectively the same thing except that the parties are able to select their own expert to conduct the FDR. It is a form of ENE.
The parties choose their arbitrator and agree to be bound by his or her award.
All forms of ADR have the advantage that the parties are able to choose their own mediator, evaluator or arbitrator and arrange for it to take place in an appropriate venue. I am happy to provide an opinion on the basis of an Early Neutral Evaluation and to represent clients in any of the above types of ADR.