- 08 February 2022
- Litigation and dispute resolution
The year ahead promises to be an interesting one for dispute resolution as the country continues to emerge from the worst of the Coronavirus pandemic. We outline some of the main changes to be aware of for the New Year.
The use of remote hearings and online courts looks set to continue long term. Their introduction has been welcomed by users thanks to the increased convenience and decreased costs compared to traditional in-person hearings. It is expected that guidance for the use of remote hearings will be refined as time progresses.
The pandemic has also been a common argument for non-performance since its emergence in early 2020, and it remains to be seen how much sympathy the courts will have for this defence going forwards.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR)
The court backlog has only been exacerbated by the pandemic, and it seems litigants will be increasingly pushed towards ADR both by the Courts and by the commercial need to resolve disputes quickly and at proportionate cost.
The Commercial Rent (Covid-19) Bill is expected to be passed by 25 March 2022, and if passed will see a new compulsory arbitration process aimed at resolving disputes around pandemic related tenancy debts.
Commercial rent arrears
We have previously advised in November 2021 of the extension of the Commercial Rent (Covid-19) Bill and what this means for commercial landlords and tenants. The most notable provisions of the Bill are the moratorium on forfeiture of commercial leases and the presentation of winding up petitions for unpaid rent, coupled with the ring fencing of rent arrears accrued from 21 March 2020 until the date the last restrictions were removed from the tenant’s industry sector.
The Bill is expected to be passed by 25 March 2022, and if passed will see a new compulsory arbitration process aimed at resolving disputes around pandemic related tenancy debts. Interested parties should subscribe to our podcast for our upcoming discussions on commercial rent arrears.
Expansion of the fixed recoverable costs (FRC) regime
There are plans for the government to extend fixed recoverable costs to all fast-track civil cases up to £25,000, and to simple fast-track cases up to a value of £100,000. This will limit the amount that successful parties will be able to obtain from their opponents and will incentivise litigants to conclude matters early to minimise their liability for costs.
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.
About this article
SubjectWhat to expect for Dispute Resolution in 2022
ExpertiseLitigation and dispute resolution
Published08 February 2022
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