Legal International Arbitration

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Legal International Arbitration

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Legal International Arbitration

Alternative Dispute Resolution is the procedure for settling disputes without litigation, such as arbitration, mediation, conciliation or negotiation. ADR procedures are usually less costly and more expeditious. They are increasingly being utilized in disputes that would otherwise result in litigation, including high-profile labor disputes, divorce actions, and personal injury claims.

How does the Scheme work?

I am willing to undertake paper only arbitrations on the terms set out below. I believe what I offer is a far more effective, quicker and cost efficient service than those provided by "official" arbitration schemes. Indeed it was my personal experiences of trying to use ABTA's arbitration scheme that interested me in becoming an arbitrator. Any award (as arbitrators' decisions are called) made under this scheme is subject to the provisions of the Arbitration Act 1996 and as binding and enforceable as awards under established schemes.

What sort of dispute is this scheme suitable for?

Most references to me arise out of alleged breaches of contracts, though it may also be suitable for resolving neighbour disputes and ascertaining damages where there is an accident and fault has been agreed. Arbitration is most suitable where the parties are seeking money. In some circumstances an arbitrator can give a binding non-monetary remedy, such as a declaration on the position of a boundary. Although the Arbitration Act gives a power to arbitrators to grant injunctions there may be practical difficulties in enforcing these. Such relief is usually best left to the courts.

Are there advantages in using your scheme over the courts?

I hope so. A decision will be given far more quickly. My fees are roughly what the courts charge where there is a trial, but the costs of the parties' legal representation will be far less because of the speed and informality of my service. So long as the award is met, the unsuccessful party does not get a county court judgement registered against them.

How long does the award take?

I aim to have awards written within 28 days of accepting the case and receiving all the papers. If that is not possible I will let the parties know before accepting the case.

What if there are more than two parties?

If the parties have the same interest, for instance a husband and wife making a claim about building works, then it will have no impact on my fees or how I approach matters. However if parties have different interest, a customer, a builder and a sub-contractor for instance, it will make the matter more complex and usually my fees will increase by 20% for each additional party.

Will you always accept cases on the basis of the mentioned fees?

In the vast majority of cases I will. However I reserve the right to refuse a case or ask for a higher fee. The most likely reasons for my doing so are that involves complex technical or scientific issues or that the instructions I receive are not clear enough for me to be able to ascertain what the issue is.

Is it necessary to have a solicitor to use this scheme?

I am happy to accept instructions regardless of whether solicitors are representing either or both parties. If solicitors are acting it would be helpful for them to prepare an agreed case summary. References may also be from people acting in person or those represented by other professionals such as surveyors or accountants. I can also accept references of matters considered by construction industry adjudicators.

How should we instruct you?

I would suggest all parties first decide they would like to use this scheme. Then one should e-mail me (or send a letter) with a brief summary of the case copying that e-mail to the other party. Telephone contact should be avoided where possible as I do not want to communicate with one party except in a form of which the other is completely aware. I will then confirm that I am willing to take the case. I should then be sent instructions, which should contain all the documentation that each side wishes me to consider. Each side should include a single document setting out the facts and arguments they wish me to have regard to. There may also be witnesses statements, Particulars or Points of Claim or Defence. Copies of any relevant contracts or letters of complaint should be included. Each case will have a different type of relevant documentation. I can only consider documents that have been seen by both all parties.

Do you award interest?

When making an award of a money sum, an arbitrator will normally award interest. If the contract in question specifies an interest entitlement that is applied, if not the same rate as is currently awarded by a court is applied. It is for a party who wants to be awarded interest to say so in their case summary and as far as possible calculate it.

What form does your award take?

Each award will be a tailored to a particular case but usually I identify the parties, state the terms of reference, summarize the relevant undisputed facts and the parties' contentions on the disputed ones, state what my findings are on disputed facts and why, deal with any issues of law in the light of those facts and then state my conclusions on the main issue and where appropriate award costs and interest. I will end the award with a clear statement of what has been decided, for instance "The Defendant is to pay the Claimant £12,000 plus interest of £350 costs assessed at £1,500 within 28 days of the date of this award"

Can we use this scheme if court proceedings have already started?

The scheme can be used during the course of proceedings if all parties agree. The court's permission needs to be obtained to stay the proceedings, but this should be a formality.

Is there an appeal from your award?

There is a limited right of appeal to the High Court against an arbitrator's award, basically if there is an error of law or procedural irregularity.