What happens to my dispute whilst the country faces the Covid 19 crisis?
Our clients are naturally concerned that the pause button isn’t hit on their disputes as the crisis deepens. In these uncertain times what is happening to disputes generally and what can be done to resolve them?
What is happening at the courts? Has everything stopped?
The answer from the courts is that as far as possible the courts are functioning. That means that deadlines need to be complied with (or if they can’t for extensions to be sought). The Courts are currently working hard to stay open and deal with as much as possible by Skype or telephone. It is proving difficult to deal with some matters in this way
Many trials are being vacated owing to coronavirus, either because the parties request to vacate owing to self-isolation or vulnerability or the judge isn’t available for the same reasons.Hearings are being postponed for over three months. Many clients will not want or be fit to travel to Court.
In fact we understand that the Courts are considering automatic extensions for compliance with directions for 2-3 months and we know that orders have been made to that effect.
The practical answer therefore is that it is likely that thousands of cases, especially those in the County Courts will face delays.
How can I avoid the delays with my case? I can’t afford for the case to stop!
One answer is mediation or other form of Alternative Dispute Resolution. Provided that both parties have sufficient information about the case we can assist the parties in trying to resolve their differences.
But I can’t meet in person and I wouldn’t be in the same room as my lawyer. How can you make that work for me?
You don’t need to hold a mediation in a physical location. Mediation can also be held online or over the telephone.
We can hold mediations online using Zoom Video conference software. This is very effective and removes the need to leave one’s own home or office. We recently heard the following feedback about the use of Zoom where 13 parties were online:
“It showed that you really can and should conduct all such hearings, mediations etc, by Video Conference. I was blown away by how well Zoom worked. You were able to create virtual break out rooms … ideal for mediation where you could have three such rooms.”
So if you are interested in discussing how to progress your matter in these uncertain times or to arrange an online mediation, please get in touch with us and we can set it up for you, wherever you are based.