From the Professional Practice team: Society members are being offered a new dispute resolution service to help their clients in problem situations

Reflecting the increasing trend of moving away from traditional litigation to resolve disputes, the Law Society of Scotland is delighted to announce the launch of its Dispute Resolution Service as an added benefit to members and their clients. Operational from 1 January 2018, members will be able to use the Society to help clients make progress with challenging situations in a quicker and more cost-effective route than being forced into court. 

During 2018 and beyond, members will be able to contact the Society to:

  • appoint an adjudicator;
  • appoint an arbitrator;
  • appoint a mediator;
  • instruct an expert report. 

Over the first 12 months, it is intended that as part of a move towards a full operational offering for the benefit of as many users as possible, further services will be introduced. Any specific requests about what else should be available to users would be invaluable, and members are encouraged to contact the Professional Practice team to discuss that.

For the reassurance of members and clients, the Society will be able to make appointments of individuals, tailored to suit the circumstances and with genuine skills and expertise in any particular area, using its unique access to members willing to provide those services. Where input is needed from individuals who are not solicitors and members of the Society, arrangements with other professional bodies will ensure that an application to the Society is a one-stop shop, to keep life as simple as possible.

In advance of the launch, members with suitable experience will be approached and invited to apply to take part in the Society’s offering and be in a position to accept appointments as and when they are required. Participation is entirely voluntary and proposed appointments do not need to be accepted in any particular case. Members are invited to contact the Professional Practice team for further information or to raise any questions.

To ensure that members get maximum benefit from using the service, it is proposed that the fee for appointment will be £250 plus VAT. Although that is lower than the fees charged for similar offerings made by other professional bodies, the Society is keen to ensure that the focus is on member benefit. For the part of the service providing for preparation of an expert report, a reduced fee of £150 plus VAT will apply.

Given that a contractual provision referring parties to the Society’s service for an appointment is the easiest – and only guaranteed – way of this being an option, now is a good time to remind members that this is the case. We would certainly encourage members to think about amending existing styles to ensure that this is included. 

Full details of the new service will be available on the Society’s website shortly, including the application form to be completed by parties as part of that process. Information on payment of the service fee (payment will be due at the outset) will also be provided. If requested, a receipted fee note will be issued to parties at the same time as the appointment letter is made available confirming details of the appointment.

The Author
Any member with any questions about the new service should feel free to contact Russell Eadie at any time for more information ( Russell Eadie is a senior solicitor with the Law Society of Scotland’s Professional Practice team
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