Partnership and LLP dispute non-binding early neutral evaluation services
Early neutral evaluation (ENE) is (like mediation) a recognised form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). It is sometimes known as expert neutral evaluation, as (like mediation) it can take place at any stage of a dispute, not just at an early stage.
In some disputes both sides are convinced that they are correct and are accordingly determined not to give in.
The result is that the case goes go trial. One of the parties will lose and will probably have to bear the other side’s costs. The winning party will not however be entitled to recover all of their costs. One or both parties may have suffered reputational damage and will have been distracted over a long period from pursuing their business or career and getting on with their lives. Early settlement on agreed terms is often better for both parties than a final enforceable judgment in terms decided by a judge or arbitrator.
Parties sometimes wish that the other party could be given a dose of reality. In some cases both parties would benefit from an unbiased assessment of their case. Though mediation is valuable and often results in settlement, parties sometimes want the mediator to express an opinion on the merits of each party’s case. But UK mediators are trained not to offer opinions, and even those who are prepared to do so cannot be expected to offer a legal opinion if they are not legally trained and/or are not specialists in the legal field concerned.
The ENE method is to replicate (so far as the parties wish) the submissions and evidence that would be presented to a judge or arbitrator on one or more or all issues, but without the intense and expensive preparation usually required for a full-blown trial. Acting as a neutral evaluator I consider those submissions and the evidence supplied and prepare an unbiased, non-binding written opinion as to who is likely to win and why.
The whole process is without prejudice and non-binding, just like mediation, so my opinion is not going to be available to a court or arbitrator if the case does not settle. Each party is free to accept or reject my opinion, but both will have had a foretaste of what the outcome might be if the matter goes to trial.
This can be a highly-effective method of focussing attention on the true issues and merits and thus encouraging a settlement.
Please feel free to telephone me on 020 7100 7766 for a confidential, no-obligation discussion of your situation, or email me.