Headlines: August 11th, 2003

Central Departments and Agencies were urged in 2001 by the Lord Chancellor’s Department, now the Department for Constitutional Affairs, to settle disputes arising from procurement contracts out of court wherever possible. In the last year over 600 disputes were settled in this way with an almost 90% success rate. The saving is put at 600 million pounds.Departments now include alternative dispute resolution clauses in standard procurement contracts. They are also taking forward programmes of skills and awareness training, underpinned by the work of a sub-group of the Government Legal Service. The aim is to embed alternative dispute resolution in the culture.

David Lammy, Minister for Civil Justice Policy, said: “Progress on this scale clearly demonstrates that we have taken a major step on the road away from a culture of litigation, towards a culture of settlement. This order of improvement demonstrates Government’s very real commitment to use alternative dispute resolution to settle its disputes, in suitable cases.”