By: 24 March 2015
ACL launches dedicated costs ADR service

The Association of Costs Lawyers (ACL) has launched an alternative dispute resolution panel to give solicitors and their clients another option when dealing with costs disputes.

Former senior costs judge, Peter Hurst, and three costs lawyers are among the group of eight mediators to offer what is believed to be the first dedicated costs ADR service.

The service offers telephone and facetoface mediation and will be expanded to include early neutral evaluation, arbitration, and multicase mediation. Other services planned for the future include mediation observerships, mediation information, and assessment meetings.

For lower-value disputes, the service offers two-hour telephone mediations. The mediator shuttles’ between the parties, making private calls, and can also host a joint teleconference as and when appropriate. Facetoface mediation – lasting either three hours or the whole day is suitable for highervalue cases and all solicitor and own client disputes.

The panel has been put together with the help of wellknown mediators Philip Hesketh and Tim Wallis. They are on the panel along with Hurst, costs lawyers Claire Green, Alison Speight and Donal Moran, Brian Dawson – senior partner of solicitors Walker Smith & Way and Frances McCarthy, former president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.

Despite the steady growth of ADR in recent years, its application to costs disputes has generally been overlooked,” said ACL chairman Sue Nash.

[ADR] can improve key performance indicators such as reducing claim life cycles and the legal costs of settlement. It can free time to spend on routine matters to help meet performance standards. It can improve cash flow by earlier conversion of work in progress to cash.