Supreme Court Practice Directions 2021

Part 6: Amicable Resolution of Disputes for Civil Cases

53. Overview of Amicable Resolution of Disputes (ADR) for civil cases

(1) This Part of the Practice Directions on the amicable resolution of the parties’ disputes applies only to civil cases in the General Division, the Appellate Division and the Court of Appeal.

(2) It is the professional duty of advocates and solicitors to advise their clients to consider ADR as well as to give their clients sufficient information about the different ways in which their disputes may be resolved using an appropriate form of ADR. In this connection, the attention of the advocates and solicitors is drawn to Rule 17(2)(e) of the Legal Profession (Professional Conduct) Rules 2015.

(3) The guidelines in Appendix D of these Practice Directions on advising clients about ADR apply.

(4) ADR must be considered before the commencement and during the course of any action or appeal in order to facilitate the just, expeditious and economical disposal of civil cases. This is especially where ADR may save costs, achieve a quicker amicable resolution and a surer way of meeting the parties’ needs.

(5) To ensure that parties are in compliance with Order 5, Rules 1 and 2 of the Rules of Court 2021 and that the Court is apprised of the same, advocates and solicitors are required to state in the Pre-Case Conference Questionnaire (“PCQ”), in particular under Section 4 (Settlement and ADR Options), whether amicable resolution has been attempted and if so, when and the form of amicable resolution attempted by the parties. The PCQ is to be submitted before the first Registrar’s Case Conference.

(6) The attention of advocates and solicitors as well as all the parties is drawn to Order 21, Rule 4(c) of the Rules of Court 2021. Advocates and solicitors should advise their clients on potential adverse costs orders for any unreasonable refusal to engage in ADR.

54. ADR Offer and Response to ADR Offer

(1) A party who wishes to attempt mediation or any other means of amicable resolution of the dispute should file and serve on all relevant parties an ADR Offer in Form B4 of Appendix B of these Practice Directions. The party in receipt is to respond by filing and serving the Response to ADR Offer in Form B5 of Appendix B of these Practice Directions.

(2) If all the parties are willing to attempt ADR, directions may be given by the Court in relation to the relevant civil case, including an adjournment of pending proceedings in Court with stipulated timelines for the completion of the ADR process.

(3) If the Court orders a party to submit a sealed document setting out the party’s reasons for refusing to attempt ADR pursuant to Order 5, Rule 3(3) of the Rules of Court 2021, the party is to file the sealed document through the Electronic Filing Service into the electronic case file under “ADR Sealed Document” within 7 days after the date of the order of court, unless the Court otherwise directs. The “ADR Sealed Document” does not need to be served on the other party or parties to the case.

(4) The “ADR Sealed Document” will be sealed upon acceptance by the Registry. Apart from the filing party, the “ADR Sealed Document” will not be available for inspection by any other party or the trial Court, until the issue of costs of the action is to be considered.

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