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Scottish construction lawyers’ awareness and experiences of alternative dispute resolution

Agapiou, Andrew (2011) Scottish construction lawyers’ awareness and experiences of alternative dispute resolution. Proceedings of the ICE - Management, Procurement and Law, 164 (4). pp. 181-192.

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Abstract

It is widely acknowledged that lawyers generally perform a gate-keeping role, advising clients on the most appropriate form of dispute resolution for particular cases. Is it reasonable to believe that the attitudes of the legal fraternity in Scotland create a real limit on what could be implemented by a government that seeks to promote modern methods of dispute resolution as part of its civil justice reform agenda? Drawn from questionnaire- and interview-based research, the principal aim of this paper is to fill a gap in the literature and establish baseline data on Scots construction lawyers’ awareness, attitudes and experiences of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and implications for the resolution of construction disputes. There is evidence from the questionnaire survey and participant interviews that more education in ADR procedures and their application could provide further opportunity to develop them as settlement tools in Scotland by building on more positive aspects of responses within the sample analysis. Only some in the legal fraternity have embraced the challenge of what the study has found to be regarded widely as an opportunity. Further education, training and publication of case law involving ADR may be necessary to convince doubters that ADR needs to be part of the menu of methods of dispute resolution for the modern lawyer in Scotland