Independent Evaluation enhances people’s options and prospects; it does not prevent people from having their day in Court or restrict their rights in any way.
IE offers an opportunity to gain an optimal resolution before rushing into litigation and hopefully avoiding the litigated battle completely. However, it is frequently used after issue of proceedings and increasingly even after judgment.
IE works because it provides the parties with real expertise in the subject matter of the dispute at the earliest possible stage which results in focus being directed to the key issues and concentrates on resolution of these without delay.
IE is non-binding so if you are not entirely happy or believe that you could achieve a better outcome via litigation, you are completely free to walk away. To date, nobody has chosen to do so.
The process of Independent Evaluation has three stages:
In this first phase, the Evaluator liaises with those involved by phone, helping them to understand and focus on the real issues. Direction is given in relation to evidence and timetabling and first steps are taken towards the management of each party’s expectations. In this phase, approximately 75% of disputes are settled by the parties, having benefitted from expert input at an early stage.
For more on the Direction stage, click here.
Those cases that don’t settle at this stage, progress to Evaluation.
Evaluation is a one day process – the IE equivalent of the ‘day in court’ – when the parties and their legal representatives meet on neutral ground at IE’s premises.
The Evaluator, who is highly experienced in the relevant area of law and has dealt with the parties throughout the Direction phase, undertakes a forensic analysis of each party’s case. Parties have every opportunity to put their cases and are invited to explore how they would deal with particular issues at trial. They also have the opportunity to obtain explanations as to why there may be specific difficulties and how these would be likely to play out at trial. When the time is right, the Evaluator provides the parties with the ‘Evaluation’, i.e. the likely outcome if the case went all the way to trial and judgment, or appeal. The Evaluation is provided in clear, unambiguous terms.
Thereafter, the Evaluator facilitates the parties, helping them to make well informed, level-headed decisions in order to reach the optimal resolution; namely, to achieve a better financial outcome than each of them would through the courts, and much sooner.
Click here for more on Evaluation & Facilitation.
Having dealt with the merits of the dispute and facilitated a resolution, the latter stages of the Evaluation day focus on resolving the often thorny issue of costs.
Unlike going through the courts, when cost issues can take months or years to resolve after trial, IE helps the parties resolve costs at the Evaluation. In most cases, costs are paid by BACS within a matter of days.
Click here for more on Resolution.