A Directions Consultation is the first phase of the IE process. IE provides all the direction that you might get from the Court process without any of the associated hassle.
The IE expert who will ultimately evaluate the dispute has direct communication with the parties from the outset. The claim is managed before relationships sour and become a contest in their own right, which dramatically reduces the notoriously protracted, time-consuming, unfocused and expensive pre-trial phase. Unlike the Court process where claims are passed between numerous District Judges, before being handed over to a different Judge for trial, cases in IE benefit from the consistency of being handled by a single Evaluator who then has every aspect of the case at their fingertips.
In telephone Directions Consultations, either plenary or private, the Evaluator enables the parties to identify the legal and factual issues, focus the evidence gathering on only that which is required, helps them better understand the strengths and weaknesses of their positions at the earliest opportunity and begins the exploration of possible settlement parameters.
Approximately 75% of disputes settle by the end of this Directions Consultation phase, ie without the need for the parties to go to the actual Evaluation day.
For the small percentage of cases that proceed, the Directions process ensures that all parties attend the Evaluation day with sufficient evidence and authority for the dispute to be resolved. IE requires all documents to be provided to the Evaluator at least 14 days before the Evaluation and thereby avoids situations frequently encountered at JSMs, mediations and trials, where one or both parties assert that they are not ready and cannot settle without first obtaining ‘x, y or z.’
The usual Directions will cover:
- Agreement of the key issues in the case;
- Exchange of lay and expert evidence;
- Interim payments;
- A date for the claimant to provide their Position Statement;
- A date for the defendant to provide their Position Statement in response;
- A date by which both parties will provide costs estimates;
- A date and venue for the appointment.