News In Focus
Solicitors' guidance on ADR comes into effect
New guidance for solicitors from the Law Society of Scotland on advising clients about dispute resolution options comes into force today.
It aims to ensure that solicitors provide their clients with relevant and appropriate information about the range of dispute resolution procedures open to them, such as mediation, arbitration and other methods, and discuss suitable options.
The Society has worked with the Scottish Government in exploring the practicalities of embedding alternative dispute resolution in the civil justice system, and has had expert input from solicitors and others in preparing the guidance.
David Preston, convener of the Society’s expert group on mediation, said: “Guidance is not prescriptive and it very much remains with the solicitor to use professional judgment based on the facts of the particular dispute. The intention is to ensure that all options are discussed with clients and that solicitors can fully advise on the appropriate process in their situation. Of course this includes the solicitor advising their client if they believe that going to court is the most appropriate method – there will always be some cases which need to be heard in a courtroom – but clients must be able to make informed choices on how they want their case to proceed.
“It also includes ensuring that solicitors recognise situations where particular methods of dispute resolution would not be appropriate due to a risk of violence or intimidation.”
Mr Preston added: The guidance doesn’t place any new responsibility on solicitors but will help to ensure that they can advise their clients fully on the various the range of options to allow them to decide what best meets their needs.”