Mediation services delivered by the University of Strathclyde are to be expanded across Scotland, with the opening of 17 new hubs.
Strathclyde’s Mediation Clinic operates 18 of the 22 civil dispute resolution hubs already existing. They offer, without charge, opportunities to those who are eligible to negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution to their civil dispute, reducing the stress, cost and time of going through a court process.
Experienced practitioners work alongside trainee mediators at the Clinics, to help people resolve disputes without going to court or tribunal.
Free mediation services, backed by more than £250,000 of Scottish Government funding in 2023-2024, are available for civil disputes involving sums up to £5,000, with hundreds of cases referred to the hubs every year. Examples of such disputes include those involving goods and services, building work, unpaid bills, employment and vehicle disputes.
In 2022-3, Strathclyde’s Mediation Clinics mediated in 173 cases, of which 117 were settled. An estimated £117,096 was saved to courts.
The Head of Strathclyde Law School, Professor Adelyn Wilson, said: “We are delighted that the Mediation Clinic’s partnership with the Scottish Government has continued to flourish. To be able to offer free mediation to eligible parties in 35 Scottish courts is a tremendous honour and responsibility, and an important step towards ensuring access to justice across Scotland.”
Victims and Community Safety Minister Siobhian Brown said: “Civil disputes, especially when they end up in court, can be costly and time-consuming for those involved and can affect individuals, communities and organisations. Mediation within the civil justice system offers the opportunity for a more flexible and affordable way to resolve those disputes.
“The expansion of the availability of mediation services will widen access to justice for citizens and businesses consistently across the whole of Scotland.”
Referrals to mediation hubs are made by sheriffs. A further four are delivered by Edinburgh CAB Mediation Services.