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Cover A Practical Approach to Alternative Dispute Resolution

7. The Approach of the Courts to ADR  

This chapter focuses on the approach of the courts to alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Parties are required to consider ADR before proceedings are issued by the protocols and Practice Direction—Pre-action Conduct. If ADR is not undertaken before issue, then it should be considered at the track allocation stage (when all the statements of case have been filed), and again after exchange of documents, and also when witness statements and expert evidence have been exchanged. The court will actively consider whether attempts have been made to settle the dispute by ADR at any case management conference, and may direct the parties to attempt ADR. If the parties reject ADR, before issue or at any stage of the litigation, they should have reasonable and cogent reasons for doing so and may be required to explain these reasons to the court. Moreover, the courts will seek to uphold and enforce ADR clauses in contracts.