The Bar Council’s ADR Panel is currently helping put together an ‘Apologies Bill’ for the UK Parliament, based on the 2016 Scottish Act.
The ADR Panel feels that the provision in UK law allowing for an apology to be given that could not then be used prejudicially in legal proceedings would be of general benefit to the justice system throughout the whole of the United Kingdom, particularly in England & Wales where, currently, only the provisions of Section 2 of the Compensation Act 2006 apply, and, even then in the focussed areas of clinical negligence and some other types of personal injury claims. This provision could also facilitate the resolution of more disputes outside of the courts system in ADR proceedings, particularly mediation, which could help to reduce the significant backlog in the court estate.
However, the Panel is aware that apologies operate differently in certain practice areas and wants to ensure that this Bill includes, as well as is possible, allowances for the relative nuances in each area of law and legal proceedings.
To help facilitate this, they are particularly interested in receiving a response to the following four questions from ALBA members:
• Would inclusion of further ADR provisions in PAPs in your area of practice be welcomed? If so, why?;
• Would a provision allowing apologies to be offered without prejudice be considered an advantage in your area of practice?;
• If the answer to the previous question was ‘yes’, would you propose apologies be accepted a) orally; b) in writing; c) both. Please give reasons;
• Would you agree in principle that the idea of apologies being taken into account when remedies/damages are determined is a good idea?
If you wish to respond, please send your answers to: firstname.lastname@example.org , as soon as possible.