Mandatory (alternative) dispute resolution is lawful and should be encouraged, according to the Civil Justice Council’s report on compulsory alternative dispute resolution.
The report, commissioned by the master of the rolls in January, concludes that mandatory ADR is compatible with Article 6 of the European Human Rights Convention and is, therefore, lawful.
Lady Justice Asplin, chair of the Judicial/ADR Liaison Committee and lead judge for ADR, said: 'This report addresses questions which are central to the shape and design of dispute resolution in the twenty-first century.
'We have concluded that ADR can be made compulsory, subject to a number of factors. More work is necessary in order to determine the types of claim and the situations in which compulsory (A)DR would be appropriate and most effective for all concerned, both in the present system and in relation to online justice.
'Our conclusions place another useful and powerful tool in the box. They also provide the opportunity to initiate a change of culture in relation to dispute resolution which will benefit all concerned.'
Sir Geoffrey Vos, master of the rolls and chair of the Civil Justice Council, said: 'As I have said before, ADR should no longer be viewed as "alternative" but as an integral part of the dispute resolution process; that process should focus on "resolution" rather than "dispute". This report opens the door to a significant shift towards earlier resolution.
'Meanwhile, it is exciting to see the HMCTS reform project delivering online justice. All kinds of dispute resolution interventions will be embedded within that online process.'