Andrew Howell examines whether litigants will be compelled to participate in ADR

The Civil Justice Council has recently published its report on the issue of compulsory ADR in civil proceedings in which it concludes that mandatory ADR is to be "encouraged".

The report considers two key questions of legality and desirability in the context of the Court of Appeal judgment in Halsey v Milton Keynes [2004] 1 WLR 3002, which rejected the idea of mandatory ADR. That case, however, has been considered and criticised subsequently – and the Civil Justice Council set up a working party to look at the issue. The final report recommends a change to the status quo.

Can the parties lawfully be compelled to participate in an ADR process?