Part IIIA: Alternative Dispute Resolution
35B. Overview of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for civil cases35C. DR Offer and Response to ADR Offer
(1) This Part of the Practice Directions applies only to civil cases in the General Division, the Appellate Division and the Court of Appeal.
(2) It is the professional duty of advocates and solicitors to advise their clients about the different ways their disputes may be resolved using an appropriate form of ADR.
(3) The guidelines in Appendix I to these Practice Directions on advising clients about ADR shall apply.
(4) ADR should be considered at the earliest possible stage in order to facilitate the just, expeditious and economical disposal of civil cases. This is especially where ADR may save costs, achieve a quicker resolution and a surer way of meeting their client’s needs.
(5) The attention of advocates and solicitors as well as all parties is drawn to Order 59, Rule 5(c) of the Rules of Court, which provides that:
The Court in exercising its discretion as to costs shall, to such extent, if any, as may be appropriate in the circumstances, take into account — … the parties’ conduct in relation to any attempt at resolving the cause or matter by mediation or any other means of dispute resolution …
Advocates and solicitors should advise their clients on potential adverse costs orders for any unreasonable refusal to engage in ADR.
(1) A party who wishes to attempt mediation or any other means of dispute resolution should file and serve on all relevant parties an ADR Offer in Form 28 of Appendix A of these Practice Directions.
(2) An ADR Offer may be made by any party at any time of the proceedings and shall be valid for a period of 14 days after its service.
(3) Within 14 days after service of the ADR Offer, the relevant parties shall file and serve a Response to ADR Offer in Form 29 of Appendix A of these Practice Directions, failing which they shall be deemed to be unwilling to attempt ADR without providing any reasons.
(4) If all the parties are willing to attempt ADR, directions may be given by the court in relation to the relevant civil case, including an adjournment of pending proceedings in court with stipulated timelines for the completion of the ADR process.
(5) In exercising its discretion as to costs, including costs of any claim or issue in any proceedings or of the entire action, the court may consider all the relevant circumstances of the case, including the ADR Offer and the Response to ADR Offer.