The Law Society of Scotland is to publish new guidance for solicitors on advising clients about dispute resolution options.
The new guidance, which will come into effect on 1 November 2013, aims to ensure that solicitors provide their clients with relevant and appropriate information about a range of dispute resolution procedures and discuss suitable options for them.
The Society has worked with the Scottish Government in exploring the practicalities of embedding alternative dispute resolution in the civil justice system and has had expert input from solicitors and others on using mediation, arbitration, and other options to provide the best route to resolving disputes.
David Preston, Convener of the Society's expert group on mediation, said: "The guidance is not prescriptive and it very much remains with the solicitor to use professional judgment based on the facts of the particular dispute. The intention is to ensure that all options are discussed with clients and that solicitors can fully advise on the appropriate process in their situation. Of course this includes the solicitor advising their client if they believe that going to court is the most appropriate method - there will always be some cases which need to be heard in a court room - but clients must be able to make informed choices on how they want their case to proceed.
"It also includes ensuring that solicitors recognise situations where particular methods of dispute resolution would not be appropriate due to a risk of violence or intimidation."
David Preston added: "The guidance doesn't place any new responsibility on solicitors but will help to ensure that they can advise their clients fully on the various the range of options to allow them to decide what best meets their needs."
Notes to editors
Provision of information on ADR is already explicitly stated for cross-border transactions as the CCBE code of conduct has been incorporated into the Law Society's rules. The new guidance will help ensure consistency between domestic and cross border work.
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01 November 2013