Since the introduction of the Civil Procedure Rules in May 1999, the litigation process has been radically streamlined. Litigation must now be a last resort and the courts have, for instance, the power to stay litigation while the parties pursue methods of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
The number of construction claims being litigated has fallen dramatically. However, litigation still has a place. It can be used where ADR fails to produce a solution to deal with particular issues (such as the interpretation of a contract clause or the application of a legal principle), where a dispute involves more than two parties, or where enforcement is sought of decisions produced through other forms of dispute resolution.
Litigation, although expensive, is no longer the unwieldy process that it once was, and it can prove quicker and more effective at resolving disputes than arbitration.