Churchill v Merthyr Tydfil

The Court of Appeal is hearing the Churchill v Merthyr Tydfil case this week.

Law Society of England and Wales president Nick Emmerson said: “The Law Society, along with other organisations, is intervening in the case of Mr. James Churchill v Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council in the Court of Appeal.

“The case concerns the power of the court to compel parties to enter into a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR)* prior to issuing civil proceedings.

“Previous case law – particularly Halsey v Milton Keynes General NHS Trust [2004] – which showed that parties cannot be compelled to engage in mediation is likely to be scrutinised by the court.

“The Law Society has strong reservations that this is a suitable case to challenge the outcome of Halsey. We believe that ADR that is independent of those involved will frequently be in the best interests of the parties and that compulsory referral will not necessarily be unlawful in all cases. But such a complex and sensitive issue should be considered in the round, rather than in a context where reform is constrained by the individual facts of the case before the court.”

Notes to editors

The Court of Appeal is hearing Churchill v Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council CA-2022-001778 from today (8 November 2023). The hearing has been listed for three days. The case will be heard by Dame Sue Carr, Lady Chief Justice; Sir Geoffrey Vos, Master of the Rolls; and Lord Chief Justice Colin Birrs. Find out more

* ADR, also referred to as integrated dispute resolution or non-court dispute resolution, is a term without clear definition and is applied broadly to all forms of dispute resolution outside of the litigation process.

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Naomi Jeffreys | 020 8049 3928

Maximise your Law Society membership with My LS