About the Faculty of Advocates Dispute Resolution Service

Welcome to the Faculty of Advocates Dispute Resolution Service (FDRS) website. Here, you will find details of how to select and appoint a member of the FDRS as an arbitrator, adjudicator, mediator, or to make arrangements for a member of the FDRS to provide an Expert Determination. You can use this service at any stage of a dispute.

The Faculty of Advocates is the Scottish Bar, and comprises around 460 independent lawyers who offer specialist advice on disputes and problems in all areas of law. The training and experience of advocates makes them ideally placed to act as decision makers and neutral dispute resolvers. Advocates are able to bring to the dispute resolution process all their legal skills, their ability to grasp difficult and complex facts quickly, along with their professional independence of view.

The FDRS is simple to use. There are no registration or administration charges. Most, if not all, the information you will need can be found on this website or through the links provided.

So, why choose advocates as neutral dispute resolvers?

Advocates offer a number of advantages.

  • Advocates are independent.
  • Advocates are specialists in dispute resolution
  • Advocates are trained in the analysis of complex legal and factual situations, and are able to get to the heart of an issue quickly, bringing matters to a focus and helping unlock and resolve a dispute.
  • Advocates have flexible fee structures that can readily tailored to any particular dispute, e.g. fixed fees, daily or hourly rates.
  • The appointment of an FDRS member as a neutral dispute resolver or mediator can be made quickly.


Arbitration is like a court action but takes place in private, is normally confidential and is less formal. It is decided by an independent decision-maker (called an Arbitrator) chosen by the disputing parties. The arbitrator can be legally qualified or not, but in most cases it is a good idea to instruct an Arbitrator who has legal qualifications as the procedure needs to be well managed to get the best out of it. Arbitration is also a flexible procedure and if well managed should be quicker as well. The process ends with a "Final Award" which is like a judgement or decree from a Court and it can be enforced anywhere the other party has assets.

Parties may appoint from our panel which is made up of individuals with a lot of problem solving experience but who also have independent arbitration qualifications and experience of conducting arbitrations.


Adjudication, principally in building and engineering disputes, is a short, intense process. It requires the adjudicator to assess the dispute quickly, make fair procedural orders, review the documentary and other evidence and arguments submitted, and provide a reasoned provisional decision which will be enforceable in the short term. A good quality decision is frequently accepted as final and binding. The Adjudicator is chosen by the disputing parties or is nominated by an Adjudicator Nominating Body. The Faculty of Advocates, acting through the Dean of Faculty, is an Adjudicator Nominating Body for the purposes of The Scheme for Construction Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 1998.

Fair procedure in accordance with the principles of natural justice, and clarity of thought in judicial and quasi-judicial writing are second nature to FDRS members, as is grappling with complex facts in a tight timescale. This makes an FDRS member listed in the Adjudication category the ideal choice for the resolution of a dispute by adjudication.


Mediation is in essence facilitated negotiation. Parties in a dispute - whether or not it has reached the stage of proceedings in a court or tribunal - agree to involve a neutral third party in helping them explore what areas of common ground may exist, and work from there towards finding a solution. That solution will be one which the parties consider meets their needs, and may be something more creative than a court or tribunal would be empowered to give. A mediator must be independent, and possess good analytical skills; be patient and creative. By virtue of their specialist training many advocates are well-equipped to act as mediators.

Expert Determination

Expert determination is a reference by parties of a particular issue, or of their whole dispute, to a person of skill acting in their professional capacity. The expert does not act in a judicial or quasi-judicial capacity. There is no requirement to hear, and assess, conflicting evidence and competing submissions. This saves time, resources and expense. There are no formal procedural rules to follow. Expert determination is frequently appropriate as a commercially useful means to resolve disputes because it is inexpensive, and because of its speed and informality. FDRS members, as highly skilled legal practitioners who require to act independently, are well-placed to act as expert determiners.

How to use this Website

If you are in dispute with another person and wish a member of the FDRS to resolve the dispute or to assist in its resolution you or your representative should consult the List of Members of the FDRS. If you and your opponent know who you wish to appoint, whether as arbitrator, mediator or other third party neutral or decision maker, you should click on the link to that Member’s Practice Manager and discuss matters with her or him.

If you are uncertain who you wish to appoint, you must first decide which dispute resolution process you wish to engage. For example, if you wish to have your dispute resolved by arbitration, you should click on the arbitration column; all Members of the FDRS offering themselves as arbitrator will appear at the top of the table in order of seniority. A similar form of list will appear for the other types of third party neutral or decision maker.

Using the links provided in the first column, you will be able to identify the Member, and the nature of his or her skills and experience of decision making or dispute resolution. You should then contact the Member’s Practice Manager to discuss availability, the nature and possible length of the arbitration or dispute resolution process, fees and the other terms and conditions of the Member’s appointment. Most Practice Managers have sets of terms and conditions which can be modified to meet the requirements of the particular arbitration or other dispute resolution process.