Following the consultation period earlier this year, the new protocol governing disputes over mortgage repayments and arrears came into force on 19 November 2008. The stated aims of the protocol are to encourage lenders and mortgagees to communicate and to exchange information at an early stage, to encourage early settlement of cases or, where that cannot be achieved, to enable more efficient case management. It does not alter parties' existing rights and obligations and many lenders have been acting in accordance with the terms and ethos of the protocol for some time.