Evaluations take place at IE premises in the heart of legal London, just off Chancery Lane, or in Manchester or Leeds.
With IE, the parties can be certain of the following:
- the Evaluator, having guided them through the Directions and having been in possession of all parties’ paperwork for at least 14 days, is fully appraised of all the relevant facts and issues.
- the Evaluator won’t have a case running over from the previous day or other cases that day;
- there will be a clean start at the appointed time and complete focus on resolving the parties dispute comprehensively and optimally.
The IE approach is a world ahead of the Courts, where all too often the trial Judge only gets the papers on the morning of the trial, and is perhaps still finishing off the previous day’s case.
Evaluations are neither as formal nor stressful as trials. However, it is recommended that parties treat Evaluations as seriously as they would a trial. In effect, Evaluations provide the parties with an excellent substitute for their ‘day in Court’, but with a vastly more flexible and dynamic approach. Some parties may wish not to meet the other side, others may be happy to do so; many prefer a private process in which confidentiality can be preserved and protected: all of this can be accommodated. No-one is ever left saying: “I should have said this…” or “that point was not considered.”
The Evaluation process:
Stage 1: Guided forensic analysis
In Plenary and then private sessions, the parties put their respective positions to the Evaluator. There is no cross examination, but the Evaluator undertakes a guided forensic analysis of the parties’ positions, inviting them to consider how they would deal with particular issues at the trial of the matter, as a means of highlighting any potential difficulties in their case. The process often elicits answers such as “I didn’t know I would have to deal with that point in such detail, etc.” This stage often brings the party to their own realisations about the claim.
Stage 2: Independent Evaluation
When the time is right, the Evaluator gives the parties his/her view of the likely outcome at trial based on their actual experience in clear, unambiguous terms.
If there is a divergence between any party and the evaluated outcome, IE provides an opportunity that simply does not exist at trial for the Evaluator to explain how and why they reached a particular conclusion on any particular issue or overall.
Stage 3: Independent Facilitation
The evaluated outcome, be it a liability split or assessment of quantum or both, is really the starting point for the second stage of the process, namely “facilitation”: this is where IE assists the parties to find an optimal resolution to their dispute.
IE seeks to help the parties arrive at a point where they can both move forward as ‘winners’ – namely having achieved a better financial outcome than each of them would at trial and a good deal sooner. This is not an unattainable utopia: at trial, one or sometimes both parties may take a massive financial hit, particularly so if a claimant loses a QOCS case and it has cost the Defendant a fortune, such that both sides are rightly described as the losers.
Stage 4: Resolving costs and all ancillary issues
In light of requests by frequent users of the Service, IE has evolved processes for ensuring that costs are also dealt with at the Evaluation and invariably paid by BACS within a matter of days.