Solving disputes outside court

We work to encourage the use of resolution services like 'mediation' and 'arbitration' which can be cheaper and less time consuming than going to court.  

Arbitration is a type of alternative dispute resolution. It's a legal way of settling disputes without having to go to court.

Those involved in a dispute can refer it to one or more neutral third parties (the 'arbitrators' or 'arbitral tribunal'), and they agree to be bound by their decision.
Mediation is a voluntary process in which a neutral third party works to bring disputing parties to a settlement.

Scottish Arbitration Centre

The Scottish Arbitration Centre promotes arbitration in Scotland, and also Scotland as a seat of international arbitration.

It builds on the Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010 which provides a modern framework for domestic and international arbitration in Scotland.

We currently give the Scottish Arbitration Centre £115,000 a year in grant-funding.

Scottish Mediation 

Scottish Mediation focuses on embedding mediation into the way that conflict and disputes are handled in Scotland.

It aims to:

  • promote wider understanding of the appropriate use of mediation and other related forms of conflict management and prevention
  • support and promote education, training and research in skills and best practice
  • create and encourage links between mediators and Scottish public, private, voluntary and community organisations
  • promote and organise standards of professional conduct and training

Since 2013-2014, we have given the Scottish Mediation Network £100,000 a year of grant-funding.

Independent Review of Mediation in Scotland

In 2018, the Scottish Government commissioned Scottish Mediation to undertake an independent review of the use of mediation in the civil justice system in Scotland.

The report was published in June 2019.  It identifies a number of structural and cultural challenges to be overcome in “normalising” the use of mediation.  It sets out 27 recommendations on how this could be achieved.  Read our response to the report and its findings.

Alternative dispute resolution

Find more information about mediation and arbitration services on the mygov.scot website.