Dispute resolution

Call for mediation to ease pressure on legal system

Scottish court

Courts are facing a backlog (pic: Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service)

A number of Scottish law practices are among those calling for a greater use of mediation in dispute resolution to ease mounting pressure on the legal system. A significant backlog of cases has built up during the pandemic and is likely to continue.

Twelve organisations have now issued a statement urging the Scottish Government, publicly funded bodies, the Courts, third sector agencies and business organisations to make more use of mediation.

The group comprises representatives of Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie, Burness Paull, North Coast 500, Dentons UK & Middle East, The 2Gether Partnership, Future Pathways, Transcend Change, University of the Highlands & Islands, MBM Commercial, Gilson Gray, Building Workshop and The Business Banking Resolution Centre.

In a joint statement, they said: “It is unlikely that the courts and tribunals system will be in a position to cope fully with the short to medium term requirement for fast, fair and effective dispute resolution.


“Mediation is a fast and cost-effective method for public sector, not for profit and business stakeholders to find solutions to the range of economic and social issues arising from Covid 19 – and more generally.

The potential of mediation is already beginning to gain more recognition –  a recent report by the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee made reference to the use of mediation to help clear the backlog of civil cases.   

This follows guidance issued from the UK Government on 7 May in response to the Covid-19 situation which also encouraged negotiation, mediation and other alternative or fast-track dispute resolution before contractual issues escalated into formal intractable disputes.

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