Alternative Dispute Resolution

english legal system - alternative dispute resolution


The Court Structure

Courts of First Instance

  • county court
  • high court:
    • queen's bench devision
    • chancery
    • family

Appeal Courts

  • house of lords
  • court of appeal
1 of 6

Problems and Resolutions to Civil Courts

Prior to 1999 the Civil Courts had the following problems;

expense, delay, complexity, inefficiency

The present Civil Court procedure is governed by the CIVIL PROCEDURE RULES 1999

Its overriding objective is to enable the courts to deal with cases justly. Civil Courts should try to:

  • ensure that the parties in any case are on equal footing
  • save expense
  • deal with cases in a way that is proportionate to the amount involved, the importance of the case and the complexity of the issues
  • ensure that the case is dealt with fairly and quickly
  • allocate an appropriate share of the courts resources (so smaller claims don't take up more time than is necessary)
2 of 6

Civil Procedure Rules

Three Track System

  • Small Claims;
    • contract and tort actions involving up to £5,000
    • personal injury actions up to £1,000
    • heard at the county court
  • Fast Track;
    • contract and tort cases from £5,000 to £15,000
    • personal injuries cases from £1,000 up to £50,000
    • heard in the county court
  • Multi Track;
    • county court - actions between £15,000 and £50,000
    • high court - claims over £15,000 may be transferred from the county court to the high court (usually claims over £25,000 are heard in high court)
    • all actions over £50,000 are heard in the high court

Encouraged the use of Alternate Dispute Resolution Time limits placed on cases Judicial case management

3 of 6

Types of ADR


  • this is done between the parties themselves
  • can involve a solicitor who tries to negotiate a settlement
  • usually to resolve minor problems between people


  • a neutral mediator helps the parties reach a compromise
  • aimed at disputes between neighbours, also divorce cases when finance or kids
  • parties must agree to mediate
  • not binding if an agreement is reached


  • similar to mediation except that the conciliator takes a more active role
  • will suggest grounds for compromise and basis for settlement
  • not binding
4 of 6

Types of ADR continued


  • both parties voluntarily agree to arbitrate - have decision made by a sole arbitrator or panel of arbitrators
  • agreement to go to arbitration is governed by the Arbitration Act 1996
  • agreement to go to arbitration can be made before a dispute arises by a Scott V Avery clause in a contract
  • an agreement will; name an arbitrator or provide method for choosing one, decide on the procedure (paper hearing), no witnesses (formal court-like hearing)
  • decision is binding
  • can only be challenged in court for serious irregularity in the proceddings or on a point of law


  • established to allow citizens to assert social and welfare rights
  • are administrative - social security tribunal, rent tribunal, employment tribunals
  • are domestic - 'in house' tribunals set up for their own internal use
5 of 6

Advantages and Disadvantages of ADR


  • cheaper
  • parties control proceedings rather than the courts
  • avoids bad feeling between the parties
  • privacy
  • able to continue business relations
  • use of experts in arbitration


  • expensive
  • long delays
  • adversarial approach leads to bad feeling at the end of case
  • more formal
  • comples procedures
  • inequality
6 of 6


No comments have yet been made

Similar Law resources:

See all Law resources »See all Civil courts and ADR resources »