Business Dispute Resolution Commitment
30th May 2012
The mainstreaming of mediation draws ever closer with another sector strengthening its commitments to mediation.
On 8 May Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly launched the ‘Justice for Business: Supporting Businesses and Promoting Growth’ paper, to encourage businesses to use mediation and ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) to resolve disputes.
The new paper outlines the Government’s ambitious reform programme to make the justice system more effective, less costly and better for business. Changes include streamlined court processes, improved regulation of legal services and reduced burdens on business through cheaper and easier dispute resolution.
The Minister invited business leaders and in-house lawyers from 40 top UK and international companies to a breakfast meeting in the House of Commons to seek their support for a Dispute Resolution Commitment for Business. Speakers included general counsel from Barclays Bank, Rolls Royce and Coca-Cola as well as the CEO of Harvey Nichols.
Mr Djanogly said:
‘The vital role that the justice system can play in helping business to flourish has not been adequately recognised in the past. Economic growth can only be achieved if businesses are free to trade and prosper and the justice system can help them to achieve that.
‘By delivering lower legal costs, regulation that encourages investment, and court processes which are faster, simpler and cheaper the Government is overhauling the justice system so that business can get on with the job rather than getting bogged down in unnecessary litigation.’
The ongoing reforms include:
- Helping business and consumers resolve disputes more quickly and more amicably through non-legal ways to resolve disputes, for example mediation, which can reduce costs to business and avoid good business relationships from being damaged
- Reforming legal costs in ‘no win no fee’ cases so that they are proportionate and fair, and businesses can operate with less threat of being sued or being forced to settle through the fear of high legal fees
- Consulting on introducing fees for Employment Tribunals to give employees a financial stake in their own cases and to encourage users of the system to think more carefully about whether the tribunal provides the best way to resolve their dispute
- Improving enforcement to give courts stiffer powers to ensure that creditors and businesses receive the money they are owed, and fewer debtors default on their court fines
- Better regulation of legal services, simplifying regulation and removing unnecessary red tape to reduce the burden on business including through the Red Tape Challenge
The paper also supports the Government’s economic policy objective of providing the right conditions for strong, sustainable and balanced growth and removing barriers to allow business to perform to their full potential.
Read the paper here – Justice for Business: Ministry of Justice Supporting Business and Promoting Growth.
The Commitment is expected to receive a formal launch in the Autumn.
The breakfast meeting has been organised by The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) in partnership with the Civil Mediation Council. The ICAEW is a professional membership organisation, supporting over 138,000 chartered accountants around the world. ICAEW chair the working group set up to create a Dispute Resolution Commitment for business, encouraging businesses to make the use of mediation a first step in any dispute, whether it involves individuals, a partnership, a company or a corporate entity.
The Business Dispute Resolution Commitment replaces and updates the Government’s own ADR Pledge made in 2001. For the BDRC see here – BDRC.
See here for Business Dispute Resolution Services.