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Former PM's wife says "disputes are normal"

CIArb News / 30 June 2009

Cherie Booth QC, addressing more than 120 Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) members and their distinguished guests on the occasion of CIArb's 2009 Members Luncheon, stated that disputes "are only a problem in fact, if they develop into conflict".

Reflecting on the term Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Ms Booth went on to consider the broad definition of non-court dispute resolution. Picking up the much debated thread of whether the word alternative is appropriate in this context, she asked the question, "alternative to what?" Answering the question herself with "litigation", Ms Booth suggested that "litigation is not the norm; it is very much the exception".

Looking back to the development and introduction of ADR in the UK, Ms Booth spoke about the reforms made by Lord Woolf in 1996 with the objectives of providing a fair, speedy and proportionate system for the resolution of disputes. Highlighting the issue of proportionality of costs in litigation and referring to Lord Justice Jackson's recently published report, Ms Booth said, "Court should be reserved only for those situations where other methods of dispute resolution are not more appropriate."

The sell-out event, hosted at Butchers' Hall, London in association with the Worshipful Company of Arbitrators and the London Maritime Arbitrators Association, provided members and their guests with a valuable networking opportunity. A pre-luncheon drinks reception was generously supported by Keating Chambers and those present were welcomed by Professor John Uff CBE, QC.

Commenting on the event, for which tickets which sold out in record time, Mr John Campbell QC, CIArb President, said, "in these challenging economic times, I am delighted that so many members recognise the commercial value of their participation. CIArb membership provides such opportunities all around the globe and next time, we'll find a larger venue."

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