The handbook covers the full range of ADR processes, from negotiation (chapter 12) through to arbitration (chapter 25), as well as dedicated chapters on early neutral evaluation (chapter 22), conciliation and ombudsmen (chapter 23), expert determination (chapter 24) and adjudication (chapter 26). In depth guidance on mediation practice and procedure is contained in chapters 13-17, covering mediation within litigation,including a comprehensive review of how the courts approach ADR and what a judge can and cannot order in terms of ADR (including costs sanctions). The summary of case law is both readable and comprehensive. The reader is also taken step-by-step through how to prepare for, and what to expect at, a mediation (including flow charts). Additional materials on mediation providers, specimen documents, and text updates are all available on a supporting website (which will likely prove to be a valuable future resource). As such, the handbook covers a huge amount of material, yet is relatively short and easy to navigate. It also gives mediation (which is, rightly, the central focus of the book) context, by covering it alongside a range of other ADR processes. The book ultimately provides a user friendly end-to-end guide to ADR which is up-to-date, authoritative and comprehensive.

Lord Justice Jackson’s aim in recommending that an ADR handbook be published was to instigate “cultural change”. The success of the handbook and ADR more generally will to a great extent depend on its target audience (litigants, lawyers and judges) being made aware of the handbook and using it regularly. Ideally it should be purchased and used by practitioners alongside the White Book (which, interestingly, has for many years contained its own (oft overlooked) procedural guide to ADR in Volume 2). Given there have been no rule changes requiring parties to consider ADR either before or during litigation as a result of the Jackson reforms, publicity of the handbook, and the continuing education of litigants, lawyers and the judiciary alike, will be key.

Now more than ever, the judiciary plays an essential role in promoting ADR in appropriate cases, both within and even more importantly outside the commercial context, where litigants have less experience of ADR and may need guidance.

This is just the handbook to help them do so.

Ian Gatt QC & Anita Phillips
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP