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Scots slow to embrace disputes mediation

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SCOTLAND IS lagging behind England in adopting cheaper, quicker and less confrontational ways of resolving construction disputes, a leading construction lawyer said last week.

The Scottish government is reluctant to follow England's lead in using mediation instead of arbitration, said McGrigors Solicitors head of construction and engineering Brandon Nolan.

With mediation two sides of a dispute agree to discuss their issues with the help of an independent mediator to manage the process. It tends to be quicker and cheaper and less confrontational than arbitration.

This is a more formal process with both sides submitting evidence to an independent arbitrator who then makes a ruling.

'In Scotland there is precious little evidence of government departments promoting mediation, ' Nolan told a seminar in Edinburgh last week.

A requirement to use mediation was introduced in England under the civil procedure rules introduced in 1999.

Former English construction minister and deputy leader of the House of Commons Nigel Griffi hs told the seminar that he had spoken to Scottish Executive departments about using mediation. 'They listened, but it was not top of their list, ' he told delegates.

Nolan added that Scottish clients will face pressure to introduce mediation from multinational clients, with experience of English and American practice.

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