Mediation in Scotland

Mediation in Scotland

Mediation in Scotland

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that involves a neutral third-party mediator, who facilitates communication between disputing parties. It is essentially an assisted negotiation.

At its core, mediation is a collaborative process wherein disputing parties, with the guidance of a mediator, work towards finding mutually acceptable solutions. Mediation prioritises communication, compromise, and consensus-building over adversarial confrontation. This approach can help to foster understanding, preserve relationships, and often result in more satisfactory outcomes for all involved.

Why Choose Mediation?

  1. Cost-Effective: Litigation can be expensive, both financially and emotionally, for clients. Mediation can offer a more economical alternative, reducing legal fees, court expenses, and the overall time investment required to reach a resolution.
  2. Empowerment: In mediation, parties retain control over the outcome. Rather than surrendering decisions to a judge, they actively participate in shaping solutions that meet their needs and interests.
  3. Confidentiality: Unlike court proceedings, which are matters of public record, mediation is confidential. This can help encourage open dialogues, as parties may feel more comfortable expressing their concerns and exploring potential solutions without fear of repercussion.
  4. Preserves Relationships: Whether it’s a family dispute, a business disagreement, or a dispute among neighbours, maintaining relationships is often paramount. Mediation focuses on repairing and strengthening these bonds, fostering understanding and cooperation for the future.

Are there any disadvantages to Mediation?

While mediation works well for many disputes, it is not always the best choice in every case.  It is most effective when both parties are willing to engage in the process, are open to compromise, and willing to find a mutually acceptable solution. It can be used alongside court proceedings or even replace them altogether.

What’s Next?

In most cases, mediation offers a useful and cost-effective tool to settle disputes. While the appetite for mediation within the Scottish civil justice system has grown in recent years, it hasn’t yet reached the level of demand seen in England. Mediation is not compulsory in England, however, the big difference there is that the courts can impose cost sanctions upon a party who is deemed to have unreasonably refused to participate in mediation prior and during litigation.

In Scotland, whilst the courts encourage mediation in certain disputes, there is currently no mechanism for cost sanctions to be imposed against a party for failure to engage.

Mediation is an increasingly important part of the dispute resolution landscape in Scotland. At Gilson Gray, we regularly use mediation to resolve disputes for our clients. If you would like to find out more about using mediation, please contact Caitlin Bell.

Caitlin Bell
Senior Solicitor, Litigation

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