Reforming Civil Justice
CEDR's launch was directed at reforming the Legal System, to ensure clients were made aware of, and had access to effective means of settling cases out of court and cutting the cost of conflict. This is a continuing stream of work for The CEDR Foundation, and has an international dimension, as well as engagement with the Legal System in England and Wales.
Civil justice reform is a vitally important area of interest for CEDR. We have been working towards building ADR into the structure of civil justice in the UK for many years. Having achieved our aims in this area; increasing access to and awareness of ADR and building the Governments ADR pledge, it is time to expand our horizons, reassess our aims and address new challenges in reforming civil justice.
Cutting the cost of conflict
On the surface level CEDR requires an uptake of ADR in order to grow and continue to support these initiatives, however on a deeper more fundamental level, sits the base human need to contribute, specifically to cutting the cost of conflict. CEDR is dedicated, as individuals and as an organisation, to addressing conflict and finding ways to lessen its cost as much as possible whilst maintaining the highest standards of practice. In looking at how we can reduce the cost of conflict, we must consider not just the financial ramifications, but also the emotional and human driven consequences of using more effective systems of dispute resolution.
Civil justice is fundamental to society on all levels, affecting both businesses and individuals. When it works well it can change lives for the better. However at its worst it can be wholly destructive. CEDR's commitment to reforming civil justice rests on the basis that conflict does not have to be destructive, and increasing options on routes to settlement will increase the creative potential for resolution within the dispute.
More effective dispute resolution method
CEDR as an organisation is committed to the progression of more effective methods in dispute resolution, throughout all levels of society. Whilst the focus has often been towards commercial litigation, its policy and process and how this could be better addressed to achieve the litigants needs, CEDR aims to attend to all levels of civil justice. As the thought leader and largest independent commercial mediation organisation in the UK, it is not only a prerogative but also an obligation that we push for the reform of civil justice to find and use more effective methods for settling disputes.
Need for review
A common pragmatic stance, especially in looking at a system of governance that forms a standardised part of our societal understanding, is that if it is not broken, why try and fix it. In the 2009 review of Lord Woolf's paper on Access to Justice from 1999, it was widely accepted that the system in place prior to this paper needed reform, and it took this reviewing process to identify these areas for improvement. Prior to this, its functionality was not in doubt. In this sense CEDR's continuing input in reforming civil justice seeks to address areas that can be improved; in speed, efficacy, appropriateness and to meet the interests of all participants.
Projects and support
CEDR is involved in several projects in this theme, working towards improving both access to and systems of civil justice, on the ground and at policy level. Support in this area is essential as we continue to work towards reforms in civil justice.