Back to top
News In Focus

Arbitration Bill published

30 January 2009

The Scottish Government has introduced its promised Arbitration (Scotland) Bill to the Holyrood Parliament.

Ministers hope that by providing a simpler and more easily understood procedure, the bill will encourage the use of arbitration in Scotland and also help attract international arbitration business to Scotland.

In addition, the bil is intended to encourage industries, trades and professions to set up their own low cost arbitration schemes, such as those operated by the Association of British Travel Agents and the Scottish Motor Trades Association. If the use of arbitration increases in the resolution of commercial and consumer disputes, this will reduce the pressure of business on the courts.

The primary objectives of the bill are to:

  • clarify and consolidate Scottish arbitration law, filling in any gaps that exist;
  • provide a statutory framework for arbitrations which will operate in the absence of agreement to the contrary;
  • ensure fairness and impartiality in the process; and
  • minimise expense and ensure that the process is efficient.

Minister for Community Safety Fergus Ewing said: "Some of the law on arbitration in Scotland dates back to 1695 or before that. This unsatisfactory position makes Scotland an unattractive place to arbitrate. It is clear that we need to modernise the law.

"This Government wants to develop Scotland as a dispute resolution centre which attracts international arbitration cases as well as domestic ones.

"Given the importance of world trade, there will be increasing demand for high quality arbitration services as the way to resolve cross-border commercial disputes."

The minister added that Scotland should be an easy place to do business, and it needed the law and courts to back this up and make Scotland the choice for dispute resolutions.

"This bill will improve the law and enable people to resolve their disputes more quickly and effectively than going to court."

Have your say