Over the past 15 to 20 years there have been a number of attempts to significantly increase the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), particularly mediation, by parties to civil and commercial disputes. These have included, in particular, the Woolf reforms leading to the introduction of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) in 1999; subsequent judgments in which the court has applied costs sanctions against parties who unreasonably refused to engage in ADR; and, most recently, the conclusions of Lord Justice Jackson in his review of civil litigation costs which are planned to take effect by April 2013.

In his final report on access to justice in July 1996, Lord Woolf referred to ...

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