Mediation Clinic's 'Not So Simple' Event a Success
Scotland's 2016 Simple Procedure rules encourage sheriffs to refer parties to mediation; yet what takes place inside the mediation room is a mystery to most. This event raised the lid on the process. Based on a real-life scenario, the demo saw two of the Clinic's most experienced practitioners, Alison Ebbitt and Patrick Scott, assist Jane (a financial advisor) and Richard (an architect) in seeking a resolution of their dispute over an office building. Clinic Director, Charlie Irvine, acted as compere, pausing the action for audience reaction and suggestions.
While a settlement eluded them in the 40 minutes available, the mediators made significant progress. Richard, the 'unreasonable' architect, had made a substantial opening offer and started talking about future plans for the building. A sheriff in the audience pointed out that the mediation dealt with matters that couldn't possibly be raised in court.
Around 40 people attended the event in the Insight Institute, including 4 sheriffs and several law firms and 3 members of Scottish Government's Dispute Resolution Delivery Group. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with a number of requests for a follow-up.
The Mediation Clinic is part of Strathclyde Law School and receives funding support from SafeDeposits Scotland Trust and the university's Alumni Fund. In the past 4 months the Clinic has received 114 referrals from 5 sheriff courts and provided 54 mediations with a settlement rate of 59%. It has been shortlisted in this year's Scottish Legal Awards.