Abstract: Rules of civil procedure reflect the state’s attitude to balancing competing interests of the litigants and the wider public interest. While litigants have an interest in protecting their autonomy in the conduct of litigation, there is a greater public interest in ensuring that litigation is conducted in an efficient, cost-effective and time-saving manner. It is for this purpose that the adversarial system came to be modified with some elements of the inquisitorial system, giving rise to case management whereby the judge takes an active part in regulating the litigation process. An important aspect of case management is identifying issues or disputes that can more appropriately be settled by less formal methods of dispute resolution. Where alternative dispute resolution is not favoured, the judge retains case management powers throughout the litigation process. This article presents an overview of the “Model European Rules of Civil Procedure” of the European Law Institute and UNIDROIT that are intended to guide member states of the European Union. The article concludes that the Model European Rules of Civil Procedure represent the best practice in civil litigation, the adoption of which by member states of the European Union will to a great extent harmonise litigation procedure throughout the European Union, although the Model European Rules may not be readily embraced by all the states.
Keywords: alternative dispute resolution; case management; consensual dispute resolution; Model European Rules of Civil Procedure; co-operation between litigants; duties of litigants and lawyers
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