“Private” Court Processes

Due to issues with the court process, such as cost and delay, a number of alternate processes are available by which the dispute can be determined by an outside individual.

This person acts as a “private judge” usually for a day or more. This individual is usually a retired Judge or an experienced barrister who is trained to provide this service. Either that private judge can give a non-binding view and hear the parties’ negotiating positions and try to help them come to an outcome or, in the alternative, they can give a binding outcome but would not be privy to the settlement discussions.

Both of these options can be cheaper and more efficient than the court process as they can be arranged at short notice. Although the parties are paying to have an outside individual as a private judge for the day, that person is likely to be known to the lawyers and will have the requisite expertise and time and space to deal with the matter without the vagaries of the court system interfering. In addition, because the hearing can be fixed at short notice and there are no delays involved, it is usually cheaper to look at one of these options as the cost of instructing a private judge is less than the costs which would be incurred as a result of court delays and a much longer court process.

Due to recent caselaw, outcomes arrived at an arbitration can now be appealed in the same way as a court order.