Flight Disruption – The Most Expensive IT Glitch in History?

A staggering £100m is the estimated cost to airlines for the flight disruption caused by a computer glitch at NAT. Unreliable flight data appears to have been the cause of the widespread disruption that has affected thousands of passengers. More than 1000 flights departing UK airports were cancelled over a three-day period. There has also been a knock-on effect on businesses and workplaces around the UK, with people being stranded abroad and unable to return to work after their holidays. This follows the recent disruption caused by wildfires in Greece.

Passengers are quite rightly asking for compensation for the delays caused by the IT glitch. Many people have suffered incredible inconvenience and stress because of the delays. Though, in this case, it does seem inappropriate and unfair for airlines to have to foot the entire bill, although they will obviously fulfil their duties to passengers. The IT failure is clearly something outside of their control and is an extraordinary circumstance. The airlines do owe a duty of care to passengers and have to provide accommodation and re-routing. They should not however have to bear the cost of compensation for delay under Article 7 of Regulation 261. This is because a failure of the air traffic control system is something the airlines have no control over whatsoever.

Passengers whose flights are cancelled should be given the choice of rerouting, a refund or return. Where flights are delayed, passengers have a right of assistance, including meals, refreshments, accommodation, and transfers. Airlines have to reimburse passengers for their reasonable costs, such as hotels and meals. The airlines, in our experience, are generally willing to reimburse passengers. Airlines do face claims from passengers for luxury hotels and expensive meals as well as consequential losses which cannot be justified and, in those circumstances, unfortunately such claims do sometimes end up in Court. We have a great deal of experience defending such claims.

Airlines are likely to have to pick up a massive bill through no fault of their own. It will also take a few days for flight schedules to return to normal. Other businesses will also face disruption, with employees unable to return to work on time after their holidays. It is fair to say that airlines are victims here too, and they can ill afford these additional costs following hard on the heels of the coronavirus pandemic. This is a situation where the government should step in and compensate airlines for the air traffic control failure.

© Peter Causton 2023

The World Is “Heading In The Wrong Direction”, Says Scientists

We at Whitestone are able to report that the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has reported that the atmospheric levels of all three greenhouse gases have reached record highs. In 2021, carbon dioxide concentrations were 415.7 parts per million, methane was 1908 parts per billion and nitrous oxide was 334.5 parts per billion. These are 149%, 262% and 124% of pre-industrial levels. These figures are set to be presented at the Cop27 UN climate conference in November and the WMO is in Sharm El-Sheik to attend the conference. [1] 

Concentrations of methane between 2020 and 2021 have had its biggest year-on-year jump within 40 years, puzzling scientists. Scientists countered the blame on fracking as industrial emissions did not show a similar sharp rise. Instead, the theory is that activities of microbes in wetlands, rice paddies and the guts of ruminants are the cause. The rising temperatures have caused the ideal conditions for microbial methane production. Professor Petteri Taalas, WMO secretary general, has stated there are “cost-effective strategies available to tackle methane emissions, especially from the fossil fuel sector, and we should implement these without delay,” he added, “However, methane has a relatively short lifetime of less than 10 years, and so its impact on climate is reversible.” [1] 

Professor Taalas did point out the urgency of slashing carbon dioxide emissions, calling it “the main driver of climate change and associated extreme weather”. The rise in carbon dioxide levels between 2020 and 2021 is larger than the annual growth rate over the past decade. [1] 

The Global Carbon Project initiative found that between 1990 and 2021, global carbon emissions rose by more than 60%. This statistic comes despite scientists first predicting the global warming phenomenon more than a century ago and UN climate conferences now taking place for some 30 years. [2] 

Carbon dioxide comprises of about 80% of the increase in greenhouse gas-caused global heating. Professor Taalas stated that the rise in carbon dioxide emissions has the ability to “affect climate for thousands of years through polar ice loss, ocean warming and sea level rise.” [1] 

So far, countries comprising 91% of the global GDP have pledged to reach net zero by 2050. We have seen most of these pledges being made in the past two years. The impact may seem limited for now but Henning Gloystein, director of energy, climate and resources in the Eurasia Group, argues that could soon change. “Net zero moved from being a rich country fad to a global trend in the second half of 2021,” Gloystein stated. “There is a lot of legitimate criticism that net zero isn’t enough to drive change – but even if it isn’t, I think we will soon begin to see economies change much more rapidly as they chart their decarbonisation pathways.” [2] 

With time “running out”, according to Professor Taalas, a transformation of “our industrial, energy and transport systems and whole way of life” is crucial – and notably, “economically affordable and technically possible.” [1] 

At Whitestone we will continue to build our Climate Change Team to deliver the legal infrastructure that compliance and regulatory departments can utilise to improve their own compliance with The Paris Agreement. 

©  Robert Pidgeon – Whitestone Chambers 

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/26/atmospheric-levels-greenhouse-gases-record-high?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other  

[2] https://www.energymonitor.ai/policy/net-zero-policy/cop27-how-countries-compare-on-carbon-emissions-and-pledges 

Coradia iLint: The Worlds First Fully Hydrogen-Powered Passenger Train Service

Alstom, an organisation that strives to provide sustainable foundations for the future of the transportation industry, has created the first fully hydrogen-powered passenger train service that runs on the line in Lower Saxony, Germany. Alstom first presented the Coradia iLint at the InnoTrans 2016 Berlin. Then, in 2018, the trains entered into commercial service in Germany. The deal cost the German railway LVNG 93 million euros. 

The Coradia iLint trains only emit steam and condensed water allowing it to replace the diesel trains the usually ran on the line. Moreover, the train operates with a low level of noise. Bruno Marguet, an executive with Alstom, stated: “You don’t smell the diesel smoke when you’re in the station… there aren’t diesel emissions from [nitrogen oxides], which are harmful for health.” [1] 

Notably, the Coradia iLint’s range of 1,000km gives it the ability to run all day on the line using a single tank of hydrogen. A hydrogen filling station has been set up on the route between Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervörde and Buxtehude. The trains can reach a maximum speed of 89mph, according to Alstom. 

Carmen Schwable, a spokeswoman for LNVG, stated that they “will not buy any more diesel trains in order to do even more to combat climate change”. [1] 

Stephan Weil, the President of Lower Saxony, called the news of the train line a “model for the rest of the world” and “a milestone on the road to climate neutrality in the transport sector.” [2] 

Alstom has made agreements to use the Coradia iLint at other locales such as 27 trains in the Frankfurt metropolitan. As well as spreading across Germany, Alstom is also set to start running trains on lines in regions in Italy, France, Polan, Sweden and Austria. 

The rollout of the train line comes in light of European sanctions on Russia, including European countries like Germany detaching themselves from relying on Russian oil and gas imports. 

At Whitestone we say while the introduction of the Coradia iLint is a great step towards sustainable transportation is Europe, the European rail network still relies heavily on trains that are not electrified in the long term. For example, Germany has more than 4,000 diesel-powered cars. There is, nevertheless, progress in switching the country’s reliance from diesel to green energy: the country’s rail operator, Deutsche Bahn, stated that it was developing a hydrogen-powered train in 2020. As well as this, the development of the Coradia iLint was supported by the German Ministry of Economy and Mobility, and funded by the German government as part of the National Innovation Program for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP). 

The CEO of Alstom, Henri Poupart-Lafarge, stated: “Emission free mobility is one of the most important goals for ensuring a sustainable future”. [2] 

[1] https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/hydrogen-powered-passenger-trains-are-now-running-in-germany-180980706/  

[2] https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/coradia-ilint-hydrogen-trains/index.html 

© 2022 Whitestone Chambers 

Supersonic Travel Set To Return In 2029

After a near-30-year hiatus, supersonic transatlantic travel is set to return. American Airlines, the world’s biggest airline, has announced a deal to purchase up to 20 Overture aircraft from Boom Supersonic. The deal has an option to extend the order to 40 aircrafts. The Overture jets are expected to start production from 2025. From 2029, the aircrafts are set to carry 65 – 80 passengers each on routes such as from Miami to London and Los Angeles to Honolulu. 

A statement released by American Airlines, said that the Overture jets will give them “an important new speed advantage”. The new high-tech jets, dubbed as the “son of Concorde” has a cruising speed of Mach 1.7 (1,300 miles per hour). Compared to most commercial aircraft, the “son of Concorde” will travel twice as fast cutting a six and a half hours journey between London and New York to three and a half hours. As well as this, a flight between London and Miami would go from nine and a half hours to less than five hours. [1] 

David Kerr, American Airline’s financial officer, stated that they “are excited how Boom will shape the future of travel both for our company and our customers.” [1] 

American Airlines’ deal is not the only deal Boom Supersonic has been engaged in. Just weeks before the news, Boom Supersonic revealed that it has a separate deal with US defence contractor Northrop Grumman to develop a military version of the Overture. Moreover, United Airlines ordered 15 jets last year, Virgin Atlantic reached a deal in 2016 and Japan Airlines have placed order for Boom Supersonic’s yet-to-launch jets. 

Boom Supersonic’s Concorde was retired back in 2003 by British Airways. In July 2000, the project was shelved after a fatal crash at Charles de Gaulle airport. In addition, ticket costs became a problem for flight demand. City and Wall Street banks did not want to pay £7,000 a seat to transport executives across the Atlantic even if it was faster. Expected prices for the upcoming Overture jet seats have not been released yet however, Blake Scholl – chief executive of Boom Supersonic – stated that tickets would be “affordable”. Scholl stated, “I started this because I was sad that I never got to fly on Concorde. I waited but no one was doing it, so I decided to. Ultimately, I want people to be able to get anywhere in the world in five hours for $100 (£83). To get there you must improve fuel efficiency, but step by step supersonic air travel will become available for everyone.” [2] 

A major issue with supersonic travel is the extra fuel required to travel at higher speeds as the airline industry is already responsible for around 5% of global warming. The industry has been committed to reducing carbon emissions. Boom Supersonic has stated that flights will fly on “up to 100% sustainable” aviation fuel. The company prioritises “circularity by repurposing used tooling, recycling components on the shop floor, and leveraging additive manufacturing techniques that result in less manufacturing waste and lighter, more fuel-efficient products”. As well as this, the company has aims to achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2025 and net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. [2] 

Scholl stated “We are proud to share our vision of a more connected and sustainable world with American Airlines.” [1] 

[1] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/08/16/worlds-biggest-airline-orders-30-son-concorde-supersonic-jets/ 

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/aug/16/american-becomes-third-airline-to-place-order-for-boom-supersonic-jets 

© 2022 Whitestone Chambers 

New Bill Set To Double The Pace At Which The American Economy Has Been Decarbonising

Annual emissions could be cut by as much as 44% by the end of the decade as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act 2022. Analysis shows that the Inflation Reduction Act would be the most significant climate bill passed by Congress and would double the pace at which the American economy has been decarbonising. 

The Inflation Reduction Act was agreed by Senator Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Regarding the climate aspect of the Bill, President Joe Biden stated that “It addresses the climate crisis and strengthens our energy security, creating jobs manufacturing solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicles in America with American workers.” [1] 

Estimations of the climate effect of the Bill were conducted by Energy Innovation, Rhodium Group and the REPEAT Project predicting around a 40% drop in emissions by the end of the decade.  


The Executive Director of Strategy at Energy Innovation, Anand Gopal, stated that “I was sceptical of it when we started doing the model […] But now I’m convinced that this is a really meaningful action by the United States on climate in this decade.” [2] 

As seen by the graph below, the Bill is only the beginning of tackling Biden’s 2030 climate goal. Contributions by states, cities, companies and the Environment Protection Agency are still necessary to reach these goals. 


What the Bill does do is boost America’s influence in international climate negotiations, enabling them to encourage other countries to follow in their footsteps and rapidly decarbonise. Gopal stated that, before, the US had “very limited credibility” when it came to international climate negotiations such as the UN climate forums. The passing of the Bill means “that is going to change”. [2] 

The predicted success of the Bill comes from making clean energy cheap, as stated by Jenkins. Biden stated, “It lowers families’ energy costs by hundreds of dollars each year.” Generous subsidies will be made to spur clean electricity production while creating programs to tackle bottlenecks on deploying that electricity, such as America’s inability to build an interconnected and blackout-proof grid. [1] 

The Bill can be divided into two categories: 

  1. Policies that will drive greenhouse gas pollution out of the US economy during this decade mainly through a new set of tax credit that will apply to any form of zero-carbon power production. These policies also focus on the most carbon intensive side of the economy, transportation. New electric cars, SUVs, pickups and vans will be subsidised by up to $7,500. 
  1. Policies that aim to reduce emissions after 2030 mainly through focusing on the most polluted sector, the industrial sector. Incentives will underwrite new factories, encourage clean-energy manufacturing and the push to net-zero. These policies hope to turn the US into the global leader in the nascent geothermal hydrogen and carbon-removal industries. 

While it is good to recognise that these are all estimates that fail to take into account external factors such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, this does not undermine the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act. For example, Rhodium gave a carbon pollution cut estimate by 2030 of between 31% – 44%. Therefore, in the worst-case scenario, there will still be an estimated 31% cut and the US will still have cut a large portion of emissions from the power and transportation sectors. 

In a statement, Biden said “The House should pass [the Bill] as soon as possible and I look forward to signing it into law.” 

[1] https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/08/07/statement-by-president-biden-on-senate-passage-of-the-inflation-reduction-act/ 

[2] https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2022/08/manchin-climate-bill-carbon-emissions-2030/671049/?utm_source=apple_news 

© 2022 Whitestone Chambers 

The Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022: Updated Registration Requirements For Overseas Entities Holding Land In The UK

What is the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 (ECTEA)? 

The ECTEA was passed to combat economic crime through introducing transparency around the ownership of overseas legal entities that hold registered title to land or property in the UK. Transparency is achieved through the establishment of a new public Register of Overseas Entities (and their beneficial owners) to be kept at Companies House. The register will publicise who actually owns property and land in the UK. 

We are still waiting for the passing of the secondary legislation required to implement the new procedures. 

How does the ECTEA work? 

The ECTEA applies to any overseas entity: 

  1. With title to registered freehold or leasehold property in the UK acquired since 1 January 1999 in England or Wales, or since 8 December 2014 in Scotland. 
  1. Wishing to purchase such UK land in any part of the UK. 
  1. Intending to dispose of such UK land, or which has disposed of such land since 28 February 2022. 

Overseas entities who come under this new legislation will have six months, from the implementation of the new register, to complete their registration. The start of this six-month transitional period will be determined under the anticipated secondary legislation. 

Once registered, overseas entities will not be required to renew statements in the register on an annual basis. 

Overseas entities will need to do the following information to register: 

  • Details of the property involved. 
  • Any registrable beneficial owner(s) of the entity or confirmation that there are no registrable beneficial owner(s). A registrable beneficial owner is defined as a person: 
    • Directly or indirectly holding 25% or more of the shares or voting rights of the overseas entity, or 
    • Who can affect or change the composition of the board of directors of the overseas entity, or 
    • Who otherwise has the right to exercise significant influence and control over the overseas entity. 
  • In cases where a registrable beneficial owner is a trustee, overseas entities will need to include the identity and location of each beneficiary, settlor or grantor of the trust. Former trustees of a trust are also included. 

Failure to comply with the ECTEA can result in criminal transactions of: 

  • Fines up to £2,500 a day. 
  • Prison sentences of up to five years for officers of overseas entities. 

Additionally, failure to register before the end of the transitional period can result in the HM Land Registry placing a restriction on titles to land and properties registered to overseas entities. This may include restriction to an overseas entities’ ability to transfer, let or charge their interest. 

Next steps 

The ECTEA legislation can be found here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2022/10/contents/enacted 

© 2022 Whitestone Chambers 


After long consideration and legal study of the potential fields of legal work available in Saudi Arabia, we envisage significant sustainable development potential in legal consultancy work. This connects to the Saudi Vision 2030 and Neom 9 projects, reflecting the Saudi government’s expenditure of nearly 2.5 trillion Euros. This vision makes our law firm confident of Saudi Market solidarity, and of  the long term strategy which moves away from any market speculation, commodity or geographical impacts. This is due to the strength of Saudi Arabia’s economic platform and strength in the long term.

Civil Aviation Authority v Ryanair DAC

EU Regulation 261/2004 entitles passengers whose flights are cancelled to compensation unless the cancellations are caused by ‘extraordinary circumstances’.

The Court of Appeal has this week clarified that strikes about pay and conditions not involving external factors, cannot amount to “extraordinary circumstances”.

At Whitestone Chambers we often represent airlines defending claims under EU Regulation 216/2004. Extraordinary circumstances normally include such things as airport closures, hurricanes, storms and air traffic control issues. Extraordinary circumstances are normally external factors outside the airline’s control, not arising in the normal course of operations.

In Civil Aviation Authority v Ryanair DAC, the court held that Ryanair must pay compensation for flights cancelled in 2018 as a result of strike action by the airline’s employees.

The Court drew a distinction between strikes about pay and conditions and a sympathy strike whose aims were wholly unrelated to the strikers’ employer’s activities.

The judge also held that a strike where staff sought to have flights ‘re-routed in response to a terrorist threat would represent “extraordinary circumstances”’. It is not very common for such strikes to happen, which is perhaps why they would be considered extraordinary.

The judge said the possibility of disagreements and even strikes in relation to pay and employment conditions is ‘inherent in running the business of an air carrier and so a strike about pay or employment conditions will not be “extraordinary circumstances” regardless of whether the employees’ demands are seen as reasonable or achievable’. ‘The fact that employees are represented by a trade union will make no difference,’ 

He added: ‘The regulation would not afford passengers the high level of protection intended if an airline could escape paying compensation on the basis that a strike which had caused a cancellation had arisen from an unreasonable demand by or on behalf of its staff.’

We do consider that the decision is rather harsh on low cost airlines who may pay pilots and cabin crew less in order to increase margins. This decision means that airlines are likely to want to avoid any strike action occurring, knowing that the Courts will make them pay for disgruntled customers’ cancelled flights. It will be cheaper to offer more money to employees to avoid strikes. In turn this may result in increased ticket prices. Beware the law of unintended consequences! We predict that this dispute will now progress to the Supreme Court on appeal.

Peter Causton

© 2022 Whitestone Chambers

New System For Low Value Clinical Negligence Claims Is Proposed

The Department of Health and Social Care has published a consultation which closes on 24th of April 2022 in relation to fix recoverable costs in lower value clinical negligence claims.

They are proposing a new streamlined process for claims and limits the amount of legal costs that can be recovered for cases up to £25,000.

The reason they are doing this is that the cost of clinical negligence claims has risen and reached £2.2 billion in 2020 to 2021. Legal costs make up 27% of the total cost of clinical negligence despite the number of claims remaining relatively stable. The amounts paid out for legal costs were twice the average amount paid out in damages to claimants for lower value clinical negligence claims last year.

The proposals includes a new process designed to enable the rapid exchange of evidence so that agreement can be reached more quickly on liability and compensation to be awarded. They also propose two resolution stages within the process to include a stock take meeting between the parties and the neutral evaluation by a barrister.

Previously NHSR established a mediation scheme for clinical negligence claims with a panel of mediators. Now early neutral evaluation is proposed for low value claims and a streamlined Pre action process.

Under the proposals, clinical negligence claims will be divided into a light track and a standard track. The objective is to streamline the process to achieve an early resolution of claims. Where liability is not in dispute the claim is to be assigned to the light track. There will be two processes with defined timescales for the tracks including arrangements for sequential exchange of evidence and then two separate stages involving stock take or mandatory neutral evaluation to encourage settlement before proceedings are even issued.

These steps would be mandatory. At the stock take meeting parties would examine the strength of their positions and work towards settlement at or shortly following the meeting. This does sound very much like a joint settlement meeting. If the claim is not settled through the stock take procedure, then the claim will be referred to a barrister for neutral evaluation on the papers.

The idea is that light track cases would take no longer than 20 weeks and if further evidence is required then no longer than 34 weeks. Fixed costs would apply to both tracks allowing £6000 plus 20% of damages for the standard track and £2000 plus 10% of damages for light track cases.

Sanctions would apply if the parties failed to adhere to the time limits and the suggestion is that there will be a 50% cost reduction if the claimant delayed and a 50% uplift to damages if the defendant delays.

There would also be penalties if the claimant did not accept the evaluation recommended on quantum and proceeded with the case, rather like part 36, to incentivise parties to settle.

It is interesting that this proposal is not put forward by the MOJ but rather the Department of Health, emphasising that these proposals are about saving money and redirecting it to the NHS.

It is also interesting that early neutral evaluation will be mandatory if this process is adopted. This is in line with the proposals to make ADR compulsory put forward by the Civil Justice Council. It shows that it is not just mediation but other forms of ADR being put forward. At Whitestone Chambers we have experience in the field of clinical negligence and are likely to be putting ourselves forward to conduct these neutral evaluations as some of our barristers have arbitration experience.


© Whitestone Chambers 2022

Is Mandatory ADR/Mediation Coming?

At Whitestone Chambers all barristers are keen proponents of Alternative Dispute Resolution (‘ADR’) and mediation and can attend a mediation as advocate for the parties to put their positions forward strongly in negotiations or can act as mediators in disputes. Whitestone Chambers member Peter Causton, a fully qualified Civil Mediation Council Mediator who mediates civil or workplace disputes.

Last year there were significant developments as the Ministry of Justice moved towards greater compulsion to mediate. At present there is an obligation to consider mediation to resolve disputes but the penalty for unreasonably refusing to mediate is in costs at the end of a case. Several recent cases have emphasised that the Courts do expect parties to try to resolve cases through dispute resolution processes other than Court. The Master of the Rolls has expressed his support for ADR processes in well publicised comments.

At the same time, the jury is still out as to how far the Courts should go in making mediation compulsory. It is unlikely that parties in personal injury cases will be forced to mediate any time soon. In high-cost cases such as TOLATA, inheritance or contentious probate, or boundary disputes though there is a groundswell moving towards forcing litigants to at least consider ADR as part of the process and taking the “A” out of “ADR.”

The Civil Justice Council published a paper suggesting that parties could be compelled to mediate in August 2021, supported by the Master of the Rolls.

The paper sparked further debate about whether forcing people to mediate is a step too far.

In the paper it was suggested that making parties mediate does not breach their human right to a fair trial. It said that:

“ADR can no longer be treated as external, separate or indeed alternative to the court process. For our part, an order that is made requiring participation in ADR should be enforced and parties who fail to attend in breach of such an order should be sanctioned.“

The authors dismiss the argument that parties forced to use ADR will not resolve their dispute.

“Drawing together the strands, this commentary points to a number of potential concerns about the introduction of compulsory ADR. First, there is a risk it might not work, either because the parties are simply intransigent or because they do not know enough about it and are therefore unlikely to engage in the process. Second, at a more fundamental level, there is a concern that pushing more disputes into ADR undermines the value of the adjudicative system, which is the foundation on which the effectiveness any form of ADR ultimately relies.  In our view, these concerns are not decisive.”

They go on to conclude that compulsory mediation/ADR should be considered and that it would be an extremely positive development, particularly when it is low cost, saying that:

“We think that introducing further compulsory elements of ADR will be both legal and potentially an extremely positive development… We would make three specific observations:

  1. Where participation in ADR occasions no expense of time or money by the parties (as with answering questions in an online process as to a party’s willingness to compromise) it is very unlikely that the compulsory nature of the system will be controversial – as long as the ADR is otherwise useful and potentially productive.
  2. Judicial involvement in ENE, FDR and DRH hearings is proving highly effective and these are of course available free to the parties. Again, as long as those procedures seem appropriate for the particular type of case being considered and can be resourced within the court system, we cannot see that compulsion in an even wider range of cases will be unacceptable.
  3. We think that as mediation becomes better regulated, more familiar and continues to be made available in shorter, cheaper formats we see no reason for compulsion not be considered in this context also. The free or low-cost introductory stage seems the least likely to be controversial.
  4. Above all, as long as all of these techniques leave the parties free to return to the court if they wish to seek adjudicative justice (as at present they do) then we think that the greater use of compulsion is justified and should be considered”.

The report suggested that the starting point should be forms of ADR which are free or low cost.

It was also suggested that the test of unreasonable refusal to mediate established in the seminal Halsey case could be revisited or tightened up.

This was followed by the MOJ launching a Call for Evidence on Dispute Resolution from all interested parties about mandatory mediation. The Lord Chancellor, Dominic Raab also made comments supporting increased mediation in the family Courts and a free £500 mediation voucher scheme in family cases was extended.

They said that the Call for evidence is “the first step to understanding the current dispute resolution landscape, identifying what works well, what can be improved and to put this into practice. It is our ambition to promote non-adversarial dispute resolution mechanisms, so that resolving disagreements, proactively and constructively, becomes the norm.  We are keen to support people to help them get the most effective outcome and ensure they can access the most appropriate form of resolution, which may not be court.”

The outcome of the consultation is eagerly awaited in Spring 2022. It is a safe bet that there will be an increase in mandatory referral to mediation or ADR processes or an increase in judicial ENE in certain cases or a pilot of such systems. At Whitestone Chambers we are ready to embrace any changes that are introduced.

Peter Causton © 2022 Whitestone Chambers