Neutral case evaluation (aka early neutral evaluation) is an ADR process that falls somewhere in-between mediation and arbitration.
About Neutral Case Evaluation
The parties hire a neutral evaluator to review the case and provide a non-binding case valuation and/or recommendations for the parties to consider. The parties may settle the case based on the case valuation or not.
Neutral case evaluation does not involve any legal advice or legal option, yet the issues of liability, damages, costs and possibly collection are taken into consideration.
Neutral Case Evaluator
Mick Hassell has many years of experience valuing claims in the context of trial opinions for lawyers and their clients. Mick’s trial experience helps him see the endgame and how a case may play out at trial. Many of Mick’s trial opinions have been the precursor to settlements instead of trial.
Our neutral case evaluation service is provided through Hassell Management Limited, which is an ADR and trial resources company, not a law firm. At all times, Mick Hassell is acting in his capacity as President of Hassell Management Limited and not as a lawyer for anyone.
Our Neutral Case Evaluation Process
A general approach to the case evaluation process is outlined below. It is intended to be approached with a degree of flexibility to suit the particular case.
- To start the process, the parties provide a copy of the pleadings to the Evaluator by emailing Mick Hassell at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mick will conduct a conflict check and confirm his availability and provide a Neutral Case Evaluation Agreement.
- The lawyers and their clients review and approve the Neutral Case Evaluation Agreement.
- A procedural conference call (15 minutes) is held between the Evaluator and the lawyers to discuss the scope and timing of the evaluation process.
- The parties provide a copy of the mediation briefs, pre-trial conference briefs or other concise summary and key documents to the Evaluator. Each party may include a damages calculation, if they wish to.
- Depending on the scope agreed to at the procedural conference call, the parties may provide discovery transcript excerpts, witness statements and/or will say statements. These may improve the Evaluation.
- A substantive conference call is held with the lawyers and parties (up to 1 hour). The lawyers may provide brief oral presentations (10 – 15 minutes) and answer any questions from the Evaluator.
- A Neutral Case Evaluation is provided to the parties, together with a timeframe to explore settlement negotiations.
- If the case settles, the matter is at an end. If the case does not settle, the Evaluator may provide suggestions for mediation, discoveries (if they have not occurred) and trial or arbitration.
Start the Process
To start the Neutral Case Evaluation Process, please send an email to Mick Hassell at email@example.com and copy any other lawyers on the case. Please provide a list of all parties for conflict check purposes.
Should any lawyers have questions about Neutral Case Evaluation, it is recommended they submit their questions by email to Mick Hassell at firstname.lastname@example.org and copy any other lawyers involved in the case. A conference call can be arranged upon request to discuss the process with all parties.