Skip to main content

CIArb News

Culture change needed in dispute resolution for global Britain

13 March 2017 News

CIArb calls for a culture change in the way disputes are resolved across the country. In the Institute's latest proposal, Close the Gap, it outlines a new deal for the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) sector in response to the government’s Building our Industrial Strategy: green paper consultation for post-Brexit Britain.

Businesses and individuals are currently not as aware as they should be of the alternatives of going to court in resolving their disputes, resulting in more time and money being spent than if ADR mechanisms were used.  

The Federation of Small Business (FSB) estimated that around £62 billion was tied up in disputes involving small businesses between 2010 and 2015 in its report Tied UP: Unravelling the Dispute Resolution Process for Small Firms. This is a significant strain on economic growth and would be better addressed through a comprehensive three-tier dispute resolution system consisting of prevention, ADR and the courts.

Only 8 per cent of small businesses surveyed by the FSB used ADR to solve their most recent dispute and up to a third of UK businesses have reported that ‘lack of awareness’ was a key reason for not using ADR to resolve their disputes.  

Similarly, Findings from the Legal Problem and Resolution Survey published by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) showed that for individuals facing legal problems, only 9 per cent of them used conciliation, mediation or arbitration. Knowledge, confidence and access to information were key influences on how they resolved their problems.

Anthony Abrahams, Director General of CIArb said:

ADR has a critical role to play within the civil justice environment in both supporting the courts and in promoting cost effective, efficient dispute resolution.

We urge the government to close the knowledge gap, to change the culture of dispute resolution and to enable the UK to capitalise on its world-leading position in the ADR sector to support skills development and promote regional ADR hubs across the whole country.

This is a once-in-a-generation chance to forge a new deal for the ADR sector to help deliver a high-skilled, competitive economy that benefits people throughout the UK and that helps local businesses connect to growing international markets. 


For further information, please contact:

Nikki Nang Nilar
PR Executive
T: 020 7421 7481

Notes to editors:

The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb)

  1. Close the Gap.

  2. The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) is a leading professional membership organisation representing the interests of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) practitioners worldwide. With over 14,000 members located in 133 countries, CIArb supports the global promotion, facilitation, and development of all forms of private dispute resolution.