Early Neutral Evaluation

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It is a pre-trial process of assessing the facts, evidence and legal merits of the case at hand. Parties keep an Early Neutral Evaluation clause (ENE) clause in their agreements in order to assess the case value. After the lawsuit is filed, a court-appointed evaluator reviews it and informs the parties about its strengths and shortcomings of their case. This helps the parties in choosing the appropriate mode of dispute resolution, litigation or any other method. If the ENE indicates litigation to be viable, then parties can opt for it or else for other liberal modes.

Like arbitration, it is also a confidential and neutral process. The parties can voluntarily participate in the ENE proceedings. However, the court can also order the parties to participate extensively in the ENE proceedings. Any order/judgement concluded by ENE can be enforced upon the parties through their consent and approved by court.

This mode of dispute resolution is very popular in civil and commercial disputes where the parties want quick disposal of the dispute, as there might be various interests at stake such as material information and expenses. ENE enables the parties to assess their position and choose wisely among dispute resolution methods. 

It is one of its kinds of ADR as its purpose is to guide parties towards the most beneficial ADR method.