Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is the umbrella title given to all forms of dispute resolution procedure outside the formal court system. The most common forms of ADR are arbitration, mediation and adjudication.
Members of Axiom can assist in all forms of ADR. Members act as arbitrators, mediators and adjudicators as well as representing parties in all three forms of procedure and advising parties in relation to their use.
The Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010 provides a codified set of rules by which arbitrations in Scotland can be conducted. Key founding principles of the 2010 Act (expressed in section 1) are that the object of arbitration is to resolve disputes fairly, impartially and without unnecessary delay or expense and that the court should not intervene in an arbitration except as provided by the 2010 Act. Arbitration provides for a final resolution of disputes in privacy. There are limited rights of appeal to the Court of Session. Such appeals are dealt with in practice by the commercial judges. Consistent with the principles of the 2010 Act the commercial judges seek to deal with any appeals expeditiously, using flexible procedure.
Mediation is an inherently adaptable procedure by which parties agree to appoint a mediator who will work with the parties with the aim of facilitating a resolution to the parties' dispute. A mediator does not impose a resolution or reach any decision on the dispute. Rather the mediator works with the parties to explore areas of potential agreement. A resolution is achieved only with the agreement of the parties. One of the merits of mediation is that it allows a resolution to be achieved which may encompass matters upon which a court, arbitrator or adjudicator could not impose a decision. For example, an apology can be part of a resolution agreed in a mediation, as could an agreement for the parties to work together on new projects. Once parties have agreed on the terms of a resolution that agreement is enforceable like any other settlement.
Adjudication is a fast track form of interim dispute resolution used in construction and engineering disputes. It arises from the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 or otherwise by agreement. Generally, unless the time period is extended, the adjudicator is to reach a decision within 28 days and the decision is binding, and can be enforced, until a final resolution is reached by litigation, arbitration or agreement.