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Cover A Practical Approach to Effective Litigation

15. Issuing Proceedings, Track Allocation, and Directions  

This chapter begins with a discussion of court selection. The issue of proceedings, and to some extent the choice of court, is increasingly being streamlined, with the procedure for County Court money claims and bulk claims being moved online. For the larger multi-track cases, however, the High Court and the County Court have concurrent jurisdiction for many types of proceedings. The chapter then explains the issuance of the claim form, which marks the start of formal litigation; the service of proceedings, i.e. the formal process by which the defendant is notified of the claim; the claimant's selection of the court in which the claim is brought; and the court's allocation of the case to a particular ‘track’. The final section deals with the directions questionnaire (form N180), which should not be seen as a formality but as a key step in defining how the case should move forward.


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.