Diggory Press Court Case Moves Forward To November 2009

The remaining few claimants in the Diggory Press court case, which was previously scheduled to go ahead in March 2010, have now been requested to appear before a senior judge for a hearing in November this year. This follows several unsuccessful orders from the court for all parties to pursue Alternative Dispute Resolution. ADR requires the commitment and full co-operation of both parties to be productive. It often includes the processes of arbitration, mediation, early neutral evaluation, and conciliation. With the growing court queues, pressures on the court system, rising costs of litigation, and seemingly inordinate time delays for claimants and defendants, more judges have begun experimenting with ADR programs. Some of these ADR orders of the court are voluntary and in other cases must be acted upon. ADR does come at a cost—a mediator for example could cost either party a minimum of £250 + VAT for just a half day of work.
Despite the provisions of free legal aid and the processes of the Small Claims Court in Britain—many claimants are put off legal redress and this has been one reason for some claimants in the Diggory Press case not pursuing their claims. Certainly, frustration, bewilderment and lack of understanding of a convoluted court system, as well as weak cases have been other reasons why this case no longer consists of the original seventeen claimants.
It is hard to know if this new hearing is a positive sign of conclusion in an at times deeply unpleasant dispute played out across writer’s forums and blogs across the internet for nearly three years. Bloggers, Site Administrators and commenter’s on the impending case have had their views and identities subjected to acute scrutiny and objection only a debate on the Turin Shroud could warrant! While the appointment of an experienced judge is not unusual in an impending case—this is at least the third different judge in this case (including hearings in Bodmin, Bristol and now Torquay) and it must be seen with some form of significance as regards bringing the case to a conclusion for all parties concerned.
We trust it will happen now, sooner than later, for all our sakes. Whatever the outcome, what is certain is that this whole affair has not been pretty for anyone.

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