HC Deb 23 March 2001 vol 365 cc418-9W
Mr. Pond

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans she has to promote alternative dispute resolution in the settlement of disputes involving Government. [155726]

Jane Kennedy

My noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor has today announced an initiative on the settlement of Government disputes through Alternative

Dispute Resolution. Under this initiative, Government Departments and agencies make these commitments on the resolution of disputes involving them:

  1. (1) Alternative Dispute Resolution will be considered and used in all suitable cases wherever the other party accepts it.
  2. (2) In future, Departments will provide appropriate clauses in their standard procurement contracts on the use of ADR techniques to settle their disputes. The precise method of settlement would be tailored to the details of individual cases.
  3. (3) Central Government will produce procurement guidance on the different options available for ADR in Government disputes and how they might be best deployed in different circumstances. This will spread best practice and ensure consistency across Government.
  4. (4) Departments will improve flexibility in reaching agreement on financial compensation, including using an independent assessment of a possible settlement figure.

There may be cases that are not suitable for settlement through ADR, for example cases involving intentional wrongdoing, abuse of power, public law, Human Rights and vexatious litigants. There will also be disputes where, for example, a legal precedent is needed to clarify the law, or where it would be contrary to the public interest to settle.

Government Departments will put in place performance measures to monitor the effectiveness of this undertaking.