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 450 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. They are also trained in
resolution through mediation as facilitative negotiators.
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
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)
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 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. For arbitrator appointments please
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.