Under the Court’s general powers of case management, CPR r 3.1(2)(m) (‘the Rule’) provides that:

(2) Except where these Rules provide otherwise, the court may –


(m) take any other step or make any other order for the purpose of managing the case and furthering the overriding objective, including hearing an Early Neutral Evaluation with the aim of helping the parties settle the case”.

In this case, an application under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975, the Defendant refused consent to an Early Neutral Evaluation (‘ENE’) hearing. By an order dated 20 May 2019, Parker J therefore declined to order one, on the basis that the court did not have power to do so in such circumstances where consent to an ENE hearing is withheld by one of the parties.

The issue upon appeal was whether, notwithstanding the express terms of the Rule, it is subject to an implied condition that the parties consent before the court can order an ENE hearing."

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