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ADR development in the Court of Appeal

shawn mach

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Joined: 14 April 2010

Via the Law Society Gazette:

A Court of Appeal judgment ruling it lawful for judges to stay proceedings for dispute resolutions has been described as a ‘welcome development’ - but with reservations.

In lead judgment in Churchill v Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, Sir Geoffrey Vos, master of the rolls, said: ‘The court can lawfully stay proceedings for, or order, the parties to engage in a non-court-based dispute resolution process provided that the order made does not impair the very essence of the claimant’s right to proceed to a judicial hearing, and is proportionate to achieving the legitimate aim of settling the dispute fairly, quickly and at reasonable cost.’

Welcoming what he described as an ‘important judgment’, Law Society president Nick Emmerson said: ‘The Law Society strongly believes that non-court based dispute resolution will usually be in the best interests of the parties, but has always had real reservations about a blanket rule making any form of such process mandatory.

‘This judgment reflects those reservations in that it recognises that in some circumstances it may be contrary to a party’s right of access to the courts to compel them to engage in a non-court based dispute resolution process. We welcome the court’s clear guidance as to when and how judges should intervene to encourage non-court based resolution of disputes.’


- Court of Appeal judgment in Churchill ‘should help resolve disputes faster, with less expense’
- Court of Appeal rules in knotweed case that court can lawfully stay proceedings for dispute resolution

Judgment: James Churchill v Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council [2023] EWCA Civ 1416