A recent ruling confirms judicial discretion to stay proceedings and instruct parties to seek non-court-based alternatives to litigation.

By Nell Perks and Duncan Graves

The English Court of Appeal has ruled that the court has the authority to stay proceedings and direct the parties to engage in a “non-court based dispute resolution process”. The court can exercise such authority provided the order does not impair the essence of the claimant’s right to proceed to a judicial hearing and is proportionate to achieving the aim of settling the dispute fairly, quickly, and at reasonable cost.[1]

Consistent with the overriding objective which requires the court to actively manage cases and facilitate alternative dispute resolution (ADR), the ruling clarifies the court’s case management powers and signals a potential move toward court-mandated dispute resolution processes.

By Eleanor M. Scogings

English High Court stays litigation pending mediation.

In Ohpen Operations UK Limited v. Invesco Fund Managers Limited,[i] the English court held that mediation was a condition precedent to the commencement of litigation and, accordingly, stayed the proceedings to enable mediation to take place. The decision confirms that an alternative dispute resolution provision can be an enforceable condition precedent to formal proceedings.


Invesco Fund Managers Limited (Invesco) entered into an agreement with Ohpen Operations UK Limited (Ohpen), under which Ohpen was to develop and implement a digital online platform through which Invesco’s customers could buy and sell investments (the Agreement). Pursuant to the Agreement, between the effective date of the Agreement and the launch of the platform, the parties would enter into a development and implementation phase. Post launch, Ohpen would operate the platform.