Court settlement process
The court settlement process is a from of alternative dispute resolution.
It is a private process that is a combination of early neutral evaluation and mediation. It was first proposed in 2005 by HHJ Toulmin CMG QC and introduced by the Technology and Construction Court (TCC) on a trial basis in 2006. It was described as “a confidential, voluntary and non-binding dispute resolution process”. It is similar to the ICE conciliation process and to Dispute Review Boards.
The court settlement process is intended for use in situations where, following a request from the parties, a case managing judge feels that the parties should be able to achieve an amicable settlement. In such circumstances, the case managing judge would then be at liberty to offer a court settlement process to the parties and, if accepted by all relevant parties to the case, that judge or another TCC judge would make a court settlement order embodying the parties’ agreement and fixing a date for a court settlement conference, with an estimated duration proportionate to the issues in the case (usually no longer than a day). The judge would then conduct the court settlement process.
If successful, the parties sign a settlement agreement. If a settlement is not reached, then the case would proceed with another case management judge, with the judge who had conducted the court settlement process (the settlement judge) taking no further part in the litigation.
The idea has met with mixed response.
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