News In Focus
Advocates' personal injury arbitration service to launch next month
The Faculty of Advocates will launch its new personal injury arbitration service next month, it announced today.
A special two-day conference in Edinburgh on 29-30 September will inaugurate the service, first announced in the new year and previewed in this feature in the Journal.
The Faculty currently operates an arbitration facility – Faculty of Advocates Arbitration – under which it provides arbitration services in areas as diverse as family and agricultural law. For the new service, however, a group of 40 advocates and QCs have undergone special training to represent parties in arbitrations – by the end of the year a similar number are expected to qualify to act as personal injury arbitrators – and the service will operate via an online platform.
Faculty points out that there will also be an important role for solicitors both in instructing counsel involved in the arbitrations or acting for their own clients, with counsel acting as arbitrator.
The service will operate on a dedicated arbitration portal on the Faculty of Advocates’ website. From September 2017, parties will be able to download from the website arbitration clauses, submission agreements, arbitration rules, arbitrator appointment forms, and all other necessary material required to enable arbitrations to commence. From 2018, it will be possible for the vast majority of the arbitral process to be conducted online through a dedicated platform.
An additional service will be the appointment of Faculty-qualified arbitrators, via the new appointment service which will be chaired by former Court of Session judge Lord Eassie.
Arbitration is said to offer the benefits of speed, economy, choice of forum, confidentiality and choice of decision makers as key attractions for parties. There are also not the same geographical limitations as exist with court-based litigation.
Gordon Jackson QC, Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, commented: “In terms of the new personal injury service, this is about extending consumer choice for people seeking compensation. It puts a new product in the marketplace, delivered by advocates who are qualified experts in the field of arbitration and personal injury claims. It is a genuine alternative to litigation. It is designed with the client in mind and is for the benefit of anyone who wants a faster, more flexible, less expensive route to justice.”
Welcoming the move, Annabelle Ewing MSP, the Scottish Government’s Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, said: “This encouraging development has the potential to increase choice for clients, for whom litigation may not always be the right option. It will also widen access to justice in the field of personal injury claims.”
Brandon Malone, chairman of the Scottish Arbitration Centre, added: “This is a very welcome initiative from the Faculty of Advocates. Arbitration has the potential to deliver significant benefits in this area of the law. I congratulate the Faculty for devising this innovative scheme, and the members of Faculty who have invested their time and energy in gaining arbitration qualifications. I hope that this new personal injury arbitration service will enjoy the success that it clearly deserves.”
Click here for further details about the conference.