Faculty launching new personal injury arbitration service next month

02 Aug



The Faculty of Advocates announced today [Wednesday] that it is launching a new personal injury arbitration service at a special two-day conference in Edinburgh on 29-30 September. Further details about the conference can be found here:

The Faculty currently operates a well-established-arbitration facility – Faculty of Advocates Arbitration – under which it provides arbitration services in many areas as diverse as family and agricultural law. By adding a new personal injury arbitration service, the Faculty will be extending choice and offering new and exciting options in dispute resolution.

The benefits of arbitration are numerous, but speed, economy, choice of forum, confidentiality and choice of decision makers are key attractions for parties. There are also not the same geographical limitations as exist in the court-based litigation process.

The Faculty has developed this new, innovative approach in response to the demands of today’s society, and the need for parties to be more involved in the quick and efficient resolution of their claims.

The Faculty recognises that choice within the new service is important. There will be approximately 40 advocates and QCs available to act as counsel representing the parties in arbitrations from now, and it is likely that by the end of the year the same number will be qualified to be appointed as personal injury arbitrators. Not only have these advocates successfully completed a specialist arbitration course leading to membership of the world premier arbitration institution, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, but they are already highly qualified and experienced in the field of personal injury. There will also be an important role for solicitors both in instructing counsel involved in the arbitrations or acting for their own clients, with counsel acting as arbitrator.

The Faculty of Advocates arbitration service will be modern and user-friendly, and will operate on a dedicated arbitration portal on the Faculty of Advocates’ website. From September 2017 parties will be able to download from the website arbitration clauses, submission agreements, arbitration rules, arbitrator appointment forms, and all other necessary material required to enable arbitrations to commence. From 2018, it will be possible for the vast majority of the arbitral process to be conducted online through a dedicated platform. The Faculty will also supply arbitrators who are qualified to decide these disputes. An additional service will be the appointment of such arbitrators, via the new appointment service which will be chaired by former Court of Session Senator, Lord Eassie.

Providing this new service positions the Faculty, and by extension Scotland, as a centre of international excellence in arbitration.

Gordon Jackson QC, Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, said:

“In terms of the new personal injury service, this is about extending consumer choice for people seeking compensation. It puts a new product in the marketplace, delivered by advocates who are qualified experts in the field of arbitration and personal injury claims. It is a genuine alternative to litigation. It is designed with the client in mind and is for the benefit of anyone who wants a faster, more flexible, less expensive route to justice.”

Annabelle Ewing MSP, the Scottish Government’s Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, said:

“I welcome the Faculty’s new and innovative approach of advocate-led, alternative dispute resolution. This encouraging development has the potential to increase choice for clients, for whom litigation may not always be the right option. It will also widen access to justice in the field of personal injury claims.”

Professor David Parratt, Convenor of Faculty of Advocates Arbitration, commented:

“Members of Faculty have invested heavily in making themselves knowledgeable and qualified in arbitration practice and procedure, and are ready to participate in the service both as counsel and, importantly, as arbitrators. The combination of these members’ skills and this Faculty innovation promises new approaches to resolving personal injury claims.”

Richard Farndale, Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Scotland), said:

“The Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010 provides a flexible dispute resolution mechanism for parties to adopt and fine tune, for use in their contracts, to a bespoke process best suited to their particular issues. It is exciting to see the Faculty continue to embrace arbitration, and to use the process to provide appropriate structure and options for dispute resolution in different practice areas. It is inspiring to see the Faculty’s recognition of the value of arbitration in areas such as personal injury disputes, and their careful approach to adapting the statutory structure to the particular practice area.”

Brandon Malone, Chairman of the Scottish Arbitration Centre, commented:

“This is a very welcome initiative from the Faculty of Advocates. Arbitration has the potential to deliver significant benefits in this area of the law. I congratulate the Faculty for devising this innovate scheme, and the members of Faculty who have invested their time and energy in gaining arbitration qualifications. I hope that this new personal injury arbitration service will enjoy the success that it clearly deserves.”