The Technology and Construction Court is seeking industry views on two key proposals put forward this week to change the way construction disputes are handled.
The first proposal is that judges in the TCC should be able to act as mediators where parties wish to settle disputes. Under this "court settlement process" the judge would conduct a one-day conference with the parties in dispute in order to reach an amicable settlement.
The TCC said this process, the costs of which would be shared by both parties, would be a "confidential, voluntary and non-binding dispute resolution process".
The second item for consultation is a review of the pre-action protocol for construction and engineering disputes. The protocol requires parties to exchange information relating to the claim to try to settle it before court proceedings.
In addressing criticisms that the protocol causes delay and expense, the review recommends capping costs. It also suggests TCC judges intervene to sort out problems with procedures in the pre-action stage.
Also at the TCC this week, construction law firm Cameron McKenna is being sued by Brixton plc and sister companies for more than £300,000. The companies accuse the law firm of negligently carrying out legal work under the retainers agreed in March and December 1999, January 2002, and March and July 2003.