Report calls for greater use of mediation

Mediation

The Expert Group on Mediation in Civil Justice in Scotland has launched a report which argues more disputes could be sorted outwith the courts

1st July 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A report has been launched which calls for mediation to be used to resolve disputes which would otherwise end up in court.

The Expert Group on Mediation in Civil Justice in Scotland has launched a report which shows the value of mediation.

Mediation is a tried and tested process for resolving disputes. Compared to the courts, it is relatively quick, informal, and cost effective and gives parties control over the process. The study shows it can result in solutions that better meet the needs of those involved than the court process can. It can also provide wider benefits, both to the parties and to society and the economy.

Although court reform has created more opportunities for mediation in civil justice, its use remains limited. The experts have said there is a need to change the ‘one size fits all’ model of litigation and Scotland needs to adopt a more proactive approach to deliver a viable pathway to mediate civil disputes.

The report proposes a coordinated strategy for normalising the use of mediation in the civil justice system in Scotland.

Co-chair of the group, John Sturrock QC, said: “In particular we note that mediation is consistent with the aspirations of the National Performance Framework and, more generally, with a society in which people are valued, relationships are enhanced, choices are made by those most affected, constructive solutions are sought for difficult problems and financial and other resources are wisely deployed.”

Alun Thomas, chair of Scottish Mediation, said: “We have no doubt that the recommendations in this report sit well with a civilised and forward-looking approach to our country’s future.”

John Downie, of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) said: “SCVO welcomes this report as a catalyst to making the justice system more inclusive, accessible and affordable.

“People and communities throughout Scotland, especially the most vulnerable, find the civil justice system difficult to access and expensive. As a result, people are often put off turning to the courts to get the justice they deserve.

“A culture change, normalising the use of mediation in the civil justice system, alongside the concrete ways the report recommends to achieve this goal, will ensure mediation is accessible to third sector organisations and the people they support.”