The SNP is committed to empowering people and communities to exercise their rights and responsibilities, to resolve disputes and other civil justice problems at the earliest opportunity.
There is growing interest within Scotland and internationally in the role of mediation as a mechanism for resolving disputes. Now is the time for serious consideration of action to change the way in which mediation is viewed and deployed within the civil justice system as it is clear that mediation should have a bigger role to play in helping citizens resolve disputes.
In 2018, the SNP Scottish Government commissioned Scottish Mediation to undertake an independent review of the use of mediation in the civil justice system in Scotland. The report was published in June 2019. It identifies a number of structural and cultural challenges to be overcome in “normalising” the use of mediation. It sets out 27 recommendations on how this could be achieved. The Scottish Government responded to the report and its findings on the 10 December 2019.
The justice system has undergone further changes in the last few years and the time is right to re-examine how best to embed the use of mediation in the civil justice system. The proposals for a review by Scottish Mediation were both well timed and very welcome.
This matter needs to be dealt with on a whole system approach and that to normalise Mediation in the civil justice system in Scotland, there needs to be systematic reform in a number of areas to overcome the structural and cultural challenges identified in the report.
Whilst I will continue to listen to the evidence, I am highly sceptical that mediation should be used in cases involving domestic abuse, sexual violence or gender based violence.