British Irish Commercial Bar Seminar: Alternative Dispute Resolution

8th June 2018 Resolution Centre

Members of the Bar of Northern Ireland’s Commercial Bar Association and British Irish Commercial Bar Association teamed up on Thursday 07 June to hold a seminar on Alternative Dispute Resolution at the Resolution Centre in Belfast.

Chaired by the Commercial Bar Association’s Michael Humphreys QC, the seminar featured a range of speakers from right across the legal system including Mr Justice Horner who outlined progress around plans for the new Business and Property Hub in the High Court which is due to open in September 2018. The key note address was delivered by Mrs Justice Keegan who reflected on her experience of judge led early neutral evaluation and the potential that the new hub offers for exploring innovations around dispute resolution.

A number of eminent contributors also added to the discussions with David Casement QC focusing his talk on ‘intelligent dispute resolution’ and the arbitration process which offers fairness, speed, reduced costs and “wins hands down” in allowing confidentiality and privacy for businesses. Cleaver Fulton Rankin’s Aaron Moore updated members on developments in ‘smash and grab’ adjudications, explaining the recent case of Grove Developments Ltd v S&T (UK) Ltd [2018].

Meanwhile Andrew Singer QC spoke of the importance of ‘mediation privilege’ but reminded the audience of a number of significant exceptions found in case law, including misrepresentation, fraud or undue influence. Monye Anyadike-Danes QC outlined the attractiveness of early neutral evaluation, describing it as extremely flexible whilst also allowing for specialist expertise and clarity to be brought to a case. Monye noted the references to more frequent use of ENE in Northern Ireland contained in the Review of Civil Justice published in 2017.

Chair of the Commercial Bar Association Michael Humphreys QC commented: “It was great to welcome colleagues to The Resolution Centre in Belfast for a discussion around various types of alternative dispute resolution. As Mr Justice Horner and Mrs Justice Keegan highlighted in their addresses, I am confident that the new Business and Property Hub will provide a great opportunity for further exploration of ADR in this jurisdiction. The Bar is keenly aware of the growing business market for mediation and arbitration in Northern Ireland with the recent opening of The Resolution Centre capitalising on this through the provision of a bespoke facility to meet the needs of our barristers, local solicitors and clients”.

A video of the full event can be viewed here.

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