Wright Johnston and Mackenzie Solicitors

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Some lawyers are hammers, and see every dispute as a nail.

We see every dispute as an opportunity for the positive solutions waiting to happen.

When selecting your legal team for any dispute, you should ensure that they offer you the skills and attributes that fit with your specific needs. Our Conflict Resolution Group comprises of a range of specialists to assure you that no matter your position, we can offer you the right match.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) can take many forms, but its most common forms are:-

Commercial negotiation

This is often overlooked as a form of ADR, but if a negotiation is done well, carried out with good advice given to the participants on both sides, then most disputes can be resolved simply by reaching a deal. Across our team, we have been representing clients in their dispute negotiations for a total of over 100 years – we know what works.

Mediation

This is a form of consensual dispute resolution, where the parties are assisted by an independent Mediator to agree a settlement. The process is non-binding until terms are finally agreed upon. Unlike other processes, Mediation offers an opportunity for innovative solutions in the interests of the parties, rather than finding a winner or loser. The Mediator’s task is to facilitate the search.

The process is entirely confidential throughout – the parties can even agree that their Mediation cannot be referred to if any subsequent court action does become necessary. It can be a very swift and cost-effective process – the vast majority of Mediations see an agreement achieved over the course of a single day (usually with a few weeks of preparation time beforehand), leaving parties to get on with their lives.

Our team includes accredited Mediators, who can expertly represent you in the process, or who are available for appointment as Mediator in any dispute you may have. We can bring our wealth of expertise to bear in helping you identify when a dispute might be suitable for Mediation, and then by guiding you through the process.

When we act as Mediators, we adhere to a Code of Conduct and observe a strict confidentiality policy. Referrals to our Mediator Service can be made online; or by e-mailing Liam Entwistle or Tom Quail, and for construction and property disputes, Ross Taylor.

Arbitration

This is a form of dispute resolution where an expert third party is called upon to decide a dispute. The Arbitrator’s powers and duties are limited by the agreement between the parties, which leads to his appointment as Arbitrator.

The benefit of Arbitration is that the Arbitrator is a specialist in the topic of the disagreement. The process is confidential. If called upon to do so, the Arbitrator will reach a decision on the disputed points, for or against either of the parties and save in limited circumstances, the parties will be bound by his determination: Think private sector litigation.

With Fellows and Members of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) on our team, we are equipped to either be appointed as Arbitrator of your dispute or to provide the most appropriate expert and legal representation for you as a party to the Arbitration. Ross Taylor, Liam Entwistle and Steven Docherty are recognised by the CIArb and provide their services in accordance with the Code of Professional and Ethical Conduct for Members.

WJM Alternative Dispute Resolution Services are able to provide Arbitrators who are experienced in the Scottish and English Arbitration Acts, Uncitral and the London Court of International Arbitration. Our Arbitrators promise to deliver the speediest resolution possible in the circumstances and recognise that they are being retained to resolve the dispute and have a responsibility to parties to do so efficiently and economically. WJM is a member firm of the Scottish Arbitration Centre.

Adjudication

Adjudication is mini-arbitration. This process has statutory backing in the construction sector, by providing a right to access it, whether or not the parties agree. An expert third party Adjudicator is appointed to decide a dispute, with that decision being immediately binding on the parties (who must honour the decision – if reached correctly), although the same dispute can be re-run (perhaps with a different outcome) by Litigation or Arbitration.

The purpose of Adjudication is to allow disputes to be resolved quickly, so that cash-flow is maintained and, if appropriate, the parties can continue with implementation of their contract. The rules generally require the dispute to be decided within twenty-eight days, so the process is very quick.

Consequently it requires swift, responsive and expert representation. Our team, including Liam Entwistle and Ross Taylor, are highly skilled at nimbly marshalling the strong professional support you need.

Select Your Advisors Wisely

Taking the initiative to shape the dispute and to seize the process best suited to its resolution is likely to lead to better outcomes. If you are involved in a dispute, sense one coming, or wish to protect against the possibility of dispute, please contact us now.