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Types of Dispute Resolution

Types of Dispute Resolution

For more information on using these methods in agricultural and rural situations, see the CAAV’s publication: Means of Dispute Resolution.


While mediation can take a variety of forms, its essence is that the mediator provides a process by which the parties explain themselves to each other and then explore solutions. While, like a negotiation, it cannot guarantee a result, it can be particularly helpful in resolving issues that are more complex, where the root of the problem cannot be solved by a formal process or where personal relationships are key to the matter.

This can be similar to facilitation, where a skilled and sensitive person can help people work their way through a difficult problem – such as the processes of family succession in a farm business.

Applications for appointments should be made on this form.

Expert Determination

This sees the matter settled by someone using their expertise to consider the evidence and arguments to give an answer. If the terms of the expert’s appointment by the parties provides for that to be a final and binding answer, it will be so. This can be an effective way of resolving something where an answer is needed so that business can then continue.

Applications for appointments should be made on this form.


Here the dispute is referred to an arbitrator (sometimes in Scotland called an arbiter) whose job is to give an answer on the basis of the evidence and arguments put by and tested between the parties, acting a little like a judge.

In rural cases, this may often be with a face to face hearing but can also be done with exchanges of written representations between the parties.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, arbitration operates within the statutory framework of the Arbitration Act 1996.

In Scotland, that framework is generally provided by the generally similar Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010 though agricultural landlord and tenant disputes are still under the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 1991.

Applications for appointments should be made on this form.