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Construction disputes and mediation : a study of the attitudes and experiences of Scottish contracting firms

Agapiou, Andrew and Clark, Bryan and Keegan, Gerard (2012) Construction disputes and mediation : a study of the attitudes and experiences of Scottish contracting firms. In: Proceedings of the Construction, Building and Real Estate Conference. UNSPECIFIED, Las Vegas, pp. 21-31. ISBN 9781842198407

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Abstract

The value of mediation has been widely acknowledged worldwide, as evidenced by the number of jurisdictions in which the courts enforce obligations on parties to negotiate and adopt mediation to settle construction disputes. In most contexts, voluntary uptake of the process is low, however, and research into prospective client perceptions is particularly valuable. The principal aim then of this paper is to explore construction participants’ awareness, attitudes and experiences relative to mediation, based upon a questionnaire survey of small and medium-sized contracting firms in Scotland. While the bulk of respondents had no direct experience of mediation and felt unable to offer comments on key characteristics of the process, the findings suggest that a sophisticated appreciation of mediation at the client base level may remain illusive in Scotland. Similarly, few firms reported having any policies regarding mediation use and training in, or educational exposure to the process. Nonetheless, a small measure of generally successful mediation activity was charted in our study. This suggests that mediation is currently underused in the sector and increased efforts to promote the process to construction firms through such vehicles as publicity, training, contractual embedding and court promotion are needed.