In responding to the Civil Justice Council’s consultation on the future role of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Thompsons Solicitors has said that the proposals are not necessary for most personal injury cases. 

The consultation argues that the current use of ADR, (the term used for settling legal disputes without litigation), is, ‘patchy and inadequate’. Thompsons response is that many of the current protocols already operating in personal injury are more than adequate and that there is no need to replace them with mandatory ADR. 

According to Thompsons, personal injury law already has significant in-built ADR and procedures which are designed to reduce and narrow the scope of disputes. While accepting that ADR does have a place in personal injury, especially in serious injuries or small claims, overall, argues the firm, the system currently works well.

"Traditional negotiation works in personal injury and we can see no evidence that it should be or needs to be replaced by some form of compulsory ADR."

Julian Caddick
head of costs at Thompsons Solicitors

Thompsons Solicitors views mediation, which the Civil Justice Council believes ‘can be encouraged at all levels of civil justice’, and is widely used in other countries in personal injury, as only suitable in cases where both sides have significant financial resources to draw upon. 

Julian Caddick, head of costs at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “This consultation document appears to have been rushed. It is littered with typos and some paragraphs are so poorly written as to be almost unintelligible. 

“The impression you get is that the use of ADR needs a radical overhaul across the whole of the in civil justice system. In fact that is simply not the case in personal injury law, where although it has an important role to play, the parties benefit from experienced legal advisers which (at the moment) largely cost the injured party little or nothing. We run over 30,000 personal injury cases for injured people every year and, overall, in our experience the current system works well - the same view as Lord Justice Briggs in the recent Civil Courts Structure Review. 

“Traditional negotiation works in personal injury and we can see no evidence that it should be or needs to be replaced by some form of compulsory ADR.” 

Click to read Thompsons Solicitors’ full response to the consultation.