The Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct and Protocols has been updated with effect from 6th April 2015.
Here are the ADR headlines.
Litigation should be a last resort
8. Litigation should be a last resort. As part of a relevant pre-action protocol or this Practice Direction, the parties should consider whether negotiation or some other form of ADR might enable them to settle their dispute without commencing proceedings
Consider settling at all times
9. Parties should continue to consider the possibility of reaching a settlement at all times, including after proceedings have been started. Part 36 offers may be made before proceedings are issued.
It includes a new warning in paragraph 11 that seems to follow on from the widely reported decision of PGF v OMFS that ignoring an offer to mediate may well be regarded as an unreasonable refusal to mediate and attract a costs sanction.
11. If proceedings are issued, the parties may be required by the court to provide evidence that ADR has been considered. A party’s silence in response to an invitation to participate or a refusal to participate in ADR might be considered unreasonable by the court and could lead to the court ordering that party to pay additional court costs.