Alternative Dispute Resolution

Written by Andrew Ritchie, QC and Tony Guise – 8th May 2019:

In the next 12 months civil litigation will undergo existential change with the introduction of radical new exemptions and rules. The changes include the increased Small Claims limit in personal injury RTA claims, the introduction of fixed recoverable costs (FRC) and near compulsory ADR for all civil litigation.

The opportunity to maintain and increase profit lies in embracing ADR and taking greater advantage of the lower overheads afforded by online documentation platforms.  The combination of both bring benefits for clients and law firms alike due to:

  • Faster cycle times for cases, leading to:
  • Faster receipt of compensation, and
  • Faster receipt of costs.

ADR delivered online by a system tailored to fit the ADR process is crucial to achieving the full cashflow advantages of ADR.

The EU Parliament studied the savings achieved by ADR over litigation and found ADR saved time and money.  One example was a claim running in Belgium over €67,200.  Using the courts the claim took 505 days to resolve by trial costing €15,370.50.  The same claim resolved using mediation took 45 days and cost €4,369.50.  The research showed that the success rate of mediation in resolving cases was ca 76%.

An important lesson is that the earlier the case mediated the sooner the case ended.  Earlier ending means earlier payment of costs.  To achieve this positive cashflow needs fee-earners to advise clients that the Courts require the resolution of civil claims through ADR as made clear in the recent CJC Report on ADR, see recommendation 20(a).

In her quarterly reports of data incidents for the past 12 months the Information Commissioner has drawn attention to the most common breaches in the Legal and Judicial sectors most of which involve paper or emails with attachments:

  • Data posted or faxed to incorrect recipient;
  • Data sent by email to incorrect recipient;
  • Loss or theft of paperwork;
  • Loss or theft of unencrypted devices.

Solutions such as working in a firm’s extranet are limiting when the time comes to collaborate with the other side and the mediator.

A trusted neutral platform providing good security is like hand in glove. Vital to weather the risk of reputational damage and large fines imposed for GDPR breaches. is the only Platform to provide an independent, tailored solution. The claim documents are filed in drawers tailored for personal injury, clinical negligence and all other civil litigation.  No lawyers involved in the case own the system.

Modern ADR providers are mandating the use of the DEF Platform to protect themselves and their customers from Data Breaches and to achieve efficiency.  These include the PI Claims Arbitration Service and Hunt ADR.  The NHS Resolution agency has authorised the use of the DEF Platform for a pilot as part of their clinical negligence mediation programme.

For further information contact:

Andrew Ritchie QC, Registrar, PIcArbs or

Tony Guise, Director, Limited,