Independent Evaluation (IE) provides a better outcome for all parties involved in disputes. It is very popular with claimants and defendants alike, as well as solicitors and insurers. Users of IE have referred to us as “The legal equivalent of private health. No queues. No cancellations – just a direct line to the right Consultant and the best possible chance of an early cure.”
Whether involved in personal injury or clinical negligence claims or contesting Wills, claimants wish to have matters resolved rapidly so that their lives are not further blighted for years to come. IE enables the possibility of resolution within weeks or months rather than years, avoiding the huge inefficiencies of the Court system. For personal injury and clinical negligence claimants, IE is absolutely free.
Defendants wish to have claims resolved rapidly just as much as claimants – if not more so, given the introduction of ‘Qualified One-Way Costs Shifting’. IE can assist in resolving liability very quickly, by establishing meaningful engagement between opposing sides, instead of the radio silence that so often prevails until the expiry of the limitation period.
The duty of solicitors to act in their clients’ best interests requires them to consider all means of ADR. Many lawyers prefer Independent Evaluation because its forensic, evaluative approach identifies what is a fair and just outcome to the dispute and explains this to their clients. By comparison, mediation tends to be used late and feels like an unsophisticated ‘cutting the cake’ purely to avoid the costs risk of trial. It is telling that there are law firms who now routinely refer to IE at the outset of all their cases, whether the client is the claimant or the defendant.
Barristers and their clients often find that Independent Evaluation is the ideal route for their disputes. Court issue fees and delays are avoided; in their place, come all the benefits of access to a respected, senior legal expert who is focused on the parties and the optimal resolution of their dispute. IE is highly effective at expectation management and resolving all issues including costs at the earliest possible opportunity.
IE is the obvious route for disputes such as subrogated claims, where one insurer covers all parties to a claim, or where there is a dispute between two insurers. Many UK-based and overseas insurers have reaped significant benefits by resolving claims through IE far earlier than would otherwise be possible. IE has proved to be ‘cost positive’ for insurers; the savings are far greater than the cost of the process. As such, insurers understandably prefer their lawyers to use IE and continue to drive the expansion of IE into other areas of law.