The results of the first Scottish Arbitration Survey have now been published, reporting on the uptake of arbitration in Scotland in 2013-2014 and on the evolution of arbitration since the Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010.
The report concludes that around 22 arbitrations took place in Scotland between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2014. However, it is acknowledged that obtaining an accurate figure for the number of arbitration proceedings is not straightforward, not least because the figure is derived from the survey responses received. There is no guarantee that responses were submitted by all of those involved in arbitration in Scotland, or that full disclosure was made due to the confidential nature of arbitration proceedings. This may mean that the number of arbitrations has been understated.
Arbitration has traditionally been used in construction and property disputes, but the report identifies potential growth areas for the use of arbitration, including family law, sports related disputes, and consumer and lower value disputes. It remains to be seen whether or not arbitration in these areas will expand as predicted and much will depend upon the perception of arbitration of both advisers and clients. The survey reports feedback that lengthy submissions and traditional procedures continue to undermine the arbitration process. The survey entreats arbitrators to exert firmer control over the process so as to exclude these approaches.
This is only the first report of the Scottish Arbitration Survey so the statistical analysis is of limited value on its own. What will be far more interesting is when comparative data becomes available so that trends in the use of arbitration as an alternative dispute resolution process can be identified.
The report is available in full on the Scottish Arbitration Survey website.
For more information regarding arbitration, or any other dispute resolution mechanism, please contact a member of the Commercial Disputes and Regulation team.