The legal landscape
After nearly 20 years of ‘reforms’ to the Court Service and civil litigation, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is still failing to provide meaningful pain-relief for litigants and their lawyers. The MoJ acknowledges that “cases are still resolved too late, too expensively, with complex procedures and an adversarial climate imposing costs that sometimes dwarf the value of the contested claim.”
In his recent ‘Review of the Civil Courts’, Lord Justice Briggs stated: “The single, most pervasive and intractable weakness of our civil courts is that they simply do not provide reasonable access to justice for any but the most wealthy … . In short, most ordinary people and businesses struggle to benefit from the strengths of our civil justice system. To any rational observer who values access to civil justice, this is a truly shocking state of affairs.”
There are truly shocking delays in listing hearings and trials, and the delays for appeals are even worse. Frequently at the end of trials, Judges express their dismay at ‘Dickensian litigation’, ‘toxic disputes’, parties getting ‘bogged down in attritional warfare’ and ‘the absurd waste of effort, time and money’ when ‘issues were all capable of resolution.’ It really does happen that parties spend years and run up legal costs of £500,000 fighting over claims for as little as £3,500.
A trial is a solution, but parties in dispute should not have to spend years and a fortune trying to navigate through a legal labyrinth to get to that resolution day.
Independent Evaluation is the only process that provides a real, optimal alternative and also has the track record to prove it.