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SCJC publishes review of dispute resolution methods

19 December 2014

A report into the various methods for resolving disputes out of court has been published by the Scottish Civil Justice Council, as part of a review of the current use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods in Scotland.

The paper, by the SCJC's Access to Justice Committee provides an outline of the different ADR methods and the current state of ADR in Scotland, through a review of the literature on the subject.

It also considers the different approaches to ADR in other jurisdictions, and the approach of the EU.

In 2009, the Scottish Civil Courts Review reported that the civil justice system should encourage early resolution of disputes, that cases should be dealt with proportionately and that efficient use should be made of resources. It considered that the courts should ensure that litigants and potential litigants are fully informed about the various ADR options available to them and encouraged to attempt these where appropriate, but concluded that ADR should not be compulsory.

Today's paper states that consideration should be given to the information available to parties, whether ADR should be compulsory or voluntary, and the timing of ADR.

It states: “If freedom of choice is to be considered key, then perhaps it would be fitting to ensure that litigants, and potential litigants, have all of the information necessary to enable them to be aware of what ADR methods are available to them, understand the advantages and disadvantages of ADR, and understand how ADR differs to judicial determination.”

The committee will make recommendations to the SCJC as to any ADR policy it considers should be adopted, and where appropriate will provide draft rules for the SCJC's consideration.

Click here to view the report.

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