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Easier access to mediation for farming disputes thanks to new scheme

23 February 2021

The Tenant Farming Commissioner has launched a new scheme to promote mediation as an alternative to litigation, to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants in the agricultural sector. Designed to make access to mediation easier, the scheme was developed as a result of a successful pilot project that ran from 2018-2020. Through the scheme, the Scottish Land Commission will cover one third of the costs of a mediation process. Mediation is a voluntary process that uses an impartial third party to help participants agree or find a solution that is acceptable to all parties. The pilot project demonstrated that mediation can be a valuable tool to resolve disputes, even those where Land Court actions have already been separately lodged. The mediations in all of the pilot cases achieved better outcomes and resolved issues more quickly than litigation would have, potentially saving many thousands of pounds in costs.

The new mediation scheme has three elements:

  • A Tenant Farming Commissioner gateway – to ensure parties are suitable and ready for mediation and to enable access to TFC support and reassurance if required
  • An approved panel of mediators – to provide easy access to experienced mediators
  • A contribution from the Scottish Land Commission of one third of the total cost of the mediation process (payable to mediators on the panel) up to a maximum of £1000 (+VAT) to provide an incentive for participants to try mediation.

The scheme is open to any relevant party, such as landlord or tenant or agent acting on their behalf. Full information on eligibility and how to apply is on the Scottish Land Commission website.

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