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There are several differences between a negotiated out of court settlement and a civil action for damages.

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Introduction

Essay 2: AQA January 2002 a) There are several differences between a negotiated out of court settlement and a civil action for damages. When a dispute arises between two groups - the easiest way to resolve it is by negotiation. This involves meetings until an agreement is reached. However the potential claimant (or plaintiff) may decide to begin legal proceedings rather than negotiate, or if an agreement cannot be reached. Obviously, with the millions of summons served everyday and all the delays that occur during litigation - a final decision can take a long time. Negotiation is often much quicker as the court need not be involved and delays do not occur if both parties want to resolve the dispute with minimum hassle and cost. Civil action is expensive from the outset, with a claims form itself costing money. Each side must take into account the court fees and of course lawyer's fees they may have to pay if they lose. Negotiation on the other hand does not inevitably cost anything - merely a stamp if the discussions are being done by post, or the price of hiring a room for debates between the two sides to take place. ...read more.

Middle

Often the judge will order that other ways of finding resolutions are tried, this saves the public, and the people involved in the case both time and money. These other options are known as ADR - Alternative Dispute Resolution. Arbitration is basically a personal judge whose decision both parties agree to accept. It is used most commonly in international law (for example in settling the oil in the North Sea dispute between various European countries). It's success depends primarily on both party's willingness to accept this independent judge's decision. Basically both sides appoint an autonomous arbitrator, and then both points of view are put to him/her. This seems very much like regular civil cases but the arbitrator has no power to make witnesses give their evidence and no legal aid is available. Also the costs of arbitration are shared between the two sides in proportions they agree. At the end however, like court cases, one side loses and the other wins depending on the arbitrator's verdict and this is legally binding. Another difference between litigation and arbitration is that there are no appeals during the latter except to the High Court if a violation of justice or visible error of law. ...read more.

Conclusion

magazine) The Commission firstly tries to come to an amicable resolution, trying to persuade the editor to apologise/compensate the individual. Where this is not possible the PCC makes its own investigation and its findings are usually published in the paper involved and the press generally. However as the Commission is not legally bound, the press can and have reprinted articles and images and this can lead to litigation as a last resort. The fact that the PCC has no powers legally is a flaw in using this as an alternative to litigation and of course it can only be used for disagreements concerning the press. Another failing is that they can only act after the publication and has no powers to halt the printing of any damaging information. The final alternative to litigation I will discuss is using an Ombudsman. Their function is to look into misadministration in public bodies (such as the NHS) or government departments (such as the Benefits Agency). There are also private sector ombudsmen for complaints to do with the railways, for example. The complainant has no onus of proof, but they must produce some evidence (prima facie) to show that their complaint has some basis. Although technically an ombudsman's findings are not legally enforceable, in practise their recommendations are almost always followed (usually a written apology and/or compensation). ...read more.

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