The Department of Constitutional affairs has recently published a preview of the 41st Update of the Civil Procedure Rules due to come into force later this year.

Within that, the Protocols Practice Direction and most other Pre-Action Protocols have been amended to further encourage parties to consider methods of alternative dispute resolution.

Whilst "it is expressly recognised that no party can or should be forced to mediate or enter into any form of ADR" the Protocol states that "the Courts take the view that litigation should be a last resort.", and a failure to follow this Protocol must be taken into account when awarding costs.

This is a clear indication of the Courts continued support of ADR which we would recommend Insurers embrace.