We were recently involved in our first early neutral evaluation as evaluator for two Japanese interests involved in a charter dispute. Ironically, the dispute involved Japanese law but we were asked to proceed on the basis that English law would apply.
Nick Burgess was appointed as the evaluator on the agreement of the parties, both of whom had a long-standing and amicable relationship with him (which seems to have helped). The dispute was eventually settled on a confidential basis.
We were very much helped in this regard by the LMAA ENE Agreement, a copy of which can be found here. In this case, there was no stumbling block over who the evaluator should be given the parties’ agreement, but if there is a dispute then it is possible for the LMAA to appoint a suitable evaluator.
Based on our first experience, we would recommend early neutral evaluation and it’s clearly becoming increasingly popular with clients.