What is settlement?
To make it simple, settlement is how the parties in the case to come together to make a compromise to solve the disputes without going to trial.
And if we would like to talk about the changes or improvements on settlement before and after the Lord Woolf Reform, first, let us look at the situation of settlement before the Lord Woolf’s reform and what kind of problems were there.
What are the problems posed by settlements to the civil justice system?
There are different types of settlement available, and they are Negotiation, Mediation, Conciliation, ENE, Med-Arb and Arbitration, and all of them can be seen as cheaper than trial, quicker than trial, more congenial for parties then adjudication, it is a compromise rather than combat and more responsive to the needs of litigants.
It seems that settlement is a very good way to help the parties in the case, so what kind of problems will settlement create?
In 1987, Hazel Genn published the first in-depth research (1) of the process by which lawyers and insurance companies pursue their claims and settle disputes.
In the research, Hazel pointed out that courts only represents a small fraction of the legal and para-legal activity that in the surroundings of the resolution of civil disputes.
And the remaining majority of civil claims are pressed and concluded with reference, but without resort, to formal adjudication by a judge.
According to the statement that settlement is quicker than trail, in the report of Hazel Genn, she suggested that “ each case is accessed and fought or negotiated on the basis of the law in relation to the specific facts”(2).
From the above words, we can see that even there are out of court settlements, the parties still create their case by reference to an imaginary trial, because they have to draw up competing positions based on evidence in relation to the law of negligence and established principles for calculating the monetary value of the claim.
And there are a...