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Measures to protect people from the virus are justified, but they only exacerbate the negative consequences for businesses, which are already assessing serious damage.

With businesses focused on getting back to normal operations as soon as possible, the emphasis on fast and cost-effective international dispute resolution during the coronavirus pandemic is becoming increasingly important.

Further in this post, we will look at alternative methods of dispute resolution (ADR) in the United Kingdom during the pandemic.

 UK litigation during coronavirus outbreak

The pandemic has had a significant impact on the UK judicial system. Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service is overloaded and focused on keeping the system up and running. It is necessary to minimize risks for court officials and the judicial system as a whole, and this significantly slows down office work.

It is extremely rare now to settle a dispute in England with a physical presence. Hearings are mainly conducted via video link. Only urgent hearings related to imprisonment, public safety are held in court with a physical presence and subject to social distancing rules. There is already a huge backlog of cases pending after the courts finally return to business as usual.

ADR Dispute Resolution in England

Fortunately, to date, various methods of alternative dispute resolution have been developed and are successfully functioning, which are not carried out in the courtroom. ADR methods such as mediation have worked well and companies should pay more attention to them in an environment where the litigation can be lengthy and the parties can incur significant costs.

Mediation is one of the options to consider when settling an international dispute during a coronavirus outbreak. Mediation is often a way to find a solution that both sides of the conflict can accept. Mediation in the UK is particularly well suited for disputes in which the parties intend to pursue a commercial relationship in the future.

The new normal

Especially now, during the crisis, the issue of the costs of resolving disputes is most acute. The overall cost and speed of resolving a dispute in England are key factors in deciding whether to take legal action. Today, there is a clear tendency for plaintiffs to refrain from initiating legal proceedings due to high costs.

In these uncertain times, businesses around the world were forced to accept what was previously considered impossible, such as remotely resolving international disputes.

Conclusion

During the coronavirus period, companies had to quickly adapt to the new rules of the game. Companies first of all need to evaluate the terms of the contract - the clause on force majeure related to the pandemic must be properly spelled out with the most detailed list of circumstances that can be considered force majeure.

If there is no wording in the agreement, it is necessary to assess the prospects for resolving the issue, taking into account the wording that are included in the agreement, and work out the best solution (through the recognition of force majeure circumstances during negotiations with the relevant supplementary agreements to the agreement, through amending the agreement or terminating obligations).

Next, companies need to adopt a new norm - remote resolution of international disputes. If you are faced with the need to resolve a dispute in this way, or you have any questions about alternative methods of dispute resolution in the UK online, please contact us by filling out the feedback form. The experienced solicitors of our company will provide you with comprehensive legal advice.