Cowl and Others v Plymouth City Council: CA 14 Dec 2001

It remains of overriding importance for parties to seek to avoid litigation wherever possible. In this case, a dispute between a local authority and some of the inhabitants of one of its residential homes. The courts now have ample power within the rules to find other ways forward. In this case, the court might of its own initiative, hold an inter partes hearing for the parties to explain what they had done to resolve the dispute without involving the courts. The parties should be asked why a complaints procedure or some other form of alternative dispute resolution had not been used or adapted to resolve or reduce the issues in dispute. Enough is now known about alternative dispute resolution to make the failure to adopt it, in particular when public money was involved, indefensible.


The Lord Chief Justice Of England And Wales, Lord Justice Mummery, And, Lord Justice Buxton


Times 08-Jan-2002, Gazette 27-Feb-2002, [2001] EWCA Civ 1935, (2002) 5 CCL Rep 42, [2002] ACD 11, [2002] CP Rep 18, [2002] 1 WLR 803, [2002] Fam Law 265




England and Wales


Appeal fromCowl and others v Plymouth City Council Admn 14-Sep-2001
The applicants were residents of a nursing home run by the respondents, and sought judicial review of the decision to close it. Before making the decision, the council consulted the residents and concluded that none had been offered a ‘home for . .

Cited by:

CitedHalsey v Milton Keynes General NHS Trust etc CA 11-May-2004
The court considered the effect on costs orders of a refusal to take part in alternate dispute resolution procedures. The defendant Trust had refused to take the dispute to a mediation. In neither case had the court ordered or recommended ADR.
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Local Government, Civil Procedure Rules

Updated: 30 June 2022; Ref: scu.167058