Alternative Dispute Resolution Scheme: Template
There is a huge number of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) options available to those who do not wish to resort to litigation. It can, however, be difficult to know where to start. First, you will need to know whether the person with whom you are in a dispute belongs to a trade association or has membership of an organisation that offers a structured form of ADR. If this is the case, this will be the best place to start. Organisations differ in the way that they require parties to approach ADR so your first port of call should be the specific scheme that you are seeking to use. If there are no template letters, or there is no particular way to start the ADR process, you may wish to use the basic template below.
Costs WarningOne of the things worth considering in terms of dispute resolution is how your conduct could be perceived should you have to take the case to court. You are less likely to be penalised on costs if you can demonstrate that you have taken adequate steps to resolve the matter, before resorting to proceedings. If the other party turns down ADR when it is offered, it may reflect badly on them if they then lose the case at court. This could also apply to you, so if you are offered some form of ADR you should be aware of the implications if you refuse to cooperate.
Template LetterDear Sir or Madam:Re: ADR Invitation/Notice to Mediate (whichever applies)
We are writing with reference to the matters that are presently in dispute between us (insert details of the dispute). We are mindful of the Civil Procedure Rules and are seeking a mutually satisfactory settlement of this issue. As a result, we are informing you of our willingness to cooperate in voluntary, non-binding and confidential mediation.
In order to facilitate this, we hereby propose that a neutral mediator from (insert name of organisation/trade association/other) should be appointed by consent to assist us with this matter. We are seeking this resolution in order to avoid resorting to litigation or other disposal of the case. We confirm that we agree that the Mediation shall be entirely confidential and conducted on a without prejudice basis. Nothing disclosed within the mediation shall be admitted in evidence in any future court or other proceedings.
In good faith we therefore invite you to participate in mediation. If you are not willing to attempt this form of dispute resolution, we hereby notify you of our right to produce this letter for the consideration of the court, should the issue of costs become necessary (CPR 44.4-5).
We therefore await your response to our invitation. Please note that we would respectfully request a response no later than (insert time) on (insert date) of (insert year.)
If you do not receive a response by the time and date specified in your letter, you may consider resorting to litigation. For the purposes of the CPR, by writing this letter you have shown that you are only going to court as all other attempts at resolution have failed. Bear in mind that you should give the other side a reasonable amount of time to respond (e.g. 14 days).Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.