Free mediation services for people involved in lower value civil disputes are being expanded to cover all of Scotland.
Mediation hubs already exist in 22 sheriff court areas – 18 are delivered by the University of Strathclyde Mediation Clinic and four by Edinburgh CAB Mediation Services. The expansion will see the University of Strathclyde Mediation Clinic open a further 17 hubs across the country.
Backed by Scottish Government funding, the services are available for civil disputes involving sums up to £5,000 – the simple procedure limit. Referrals to the mediation hubs are made by sheriffs. Hundreds of cases are currently referred to the hubs every year, involving disputes such as those involving goods and services, building work, unpaid bills, employment, and vehicle disputes.
The Government is also providing £100,000 to Scottish Mediation in 2023-24 to provide access to quality assured mediation services via the link Find a mediator or by calling the Scottish Mediation helpline on 0131 556 8118.
Victims and Community Safety Minister Siobhian Brown commented: "Civil disputes, especially when they end up in court, can be costly and time-consuming for those involved and can affect individuals, communities and organisations. Mediation within the civil justice system offers the opportunity for a more flexible and affordable way to resolve those disputes.
"The expansion of the availability of mediation services will widen access to justice for citizens and businesses consistently across the whole of Scotland."