CIArb News

Branch Focus - Scottish Branch

11 Oct 2021

The Scottish Branch, whilst part of the United Kingdom, operates within its own legal jurisdiction in Scotland and is therefore quite separate to its UK counterparts. Much of our work within the Branch involves ensuring our activities, and in particular our Education training, is compatible with our legal system and the wider CIArb ethos. We also have the Northern Chapter which is an integral and important part of the Scottish Branch and the wider CIArb and allows us to engage with members throughout Scotland.  The Branch is a nominating body in its own right with its own Panel of Adjudicators, Arbitrators and Mediators. Regular training is provided to our panel members to ensure that professional standards are maintained, and progression through the Branch is actively encouraged via our introductory and pathway training courses. The Scottish Branch currently has just under 500 members and around 100 student members.

Our Branch is supported not only by its members and contacts, but also by the Judiciary. Our Branch Patron, Lord Hamilton, is a former Lord President of the Judiciary in Scotland, as was his predecessor. We are very fortunate in that the judiciary in Scotland often give their time and energy to the Branch, whether that be through involvement in Branch initiatives or participation in events and conferences.

The Branch has a very active Young Members Group (YMG) facilitated by the work of Laura West. We are very lucky and proud of the fact that Laura’s hard work in Scotland has been recognised in that she is also the current Chair of the YMG Global Steering Committee.

Our Branch is also heavily involved with other organisations promoting DR and ADR in Scotland. We work with organisations such as the Law Society of Scotland, promoting ADR (and particularly arbitration) to its members. We also have representation on a Scottish Government working group (the Collaborative Partnership), with the aim of promoting ADR in Scotland, along with other organisations involved in dispute resolution at different levels throughout Scotland. We are also involved in a Scottish Court Arbitration users group, whose aim is to make sure that the court has a system in place to support arbitration in practice within Scotland. In addition, the Branch is currently working closely with a working group with a view to promoting Conflict Avoidance in Scotland and the early settlement of construction and engineering disputes.

Like all branches, we have felt a significant impact in the past 18 months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our annual dinner, Bi-annual ADR Conference and regular Branch events were all affected last year. However, the Branch saw the pandemic, and the increase of home-working, as an opportunity to deliver virtual events and education courses. Our online events have been well received and have attracted a large number of delegates from across the globe. As we head into a post-pandemic world in 2022, the Branch will be seeking to get more face to face events back up and running, whilst continuing to take advantage of technology now available, to ensure that the Branch reaches as many people as possible with its various activities.

Finally, the Branch is excited to be part of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration’s 25th Congress event in Edinburgh, Scotland, which was due to take place in May 2020 last year. All things being well, ICCA will now be held  from 18-22 September 2022. On the evening before the start of ICCA, the Scottish Branch is proud to be hosting an event on the Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh.  CIArb members will be invited to attend, and the Scottish Branch looks forward to welcoming as many of our fellow CIArb members from around the world as possible. Tickets will be available from early 2022 – keep an eye on the website for further details!

Interview with Torquil Murray FCIArb, Scottish Branch Chair

What do you want to see in your Branch this year?
One thing that has probably united every branch in CIArb around the globe is how COVID-19 has affected how we operate and develop the Branch. The question most asked since becoming Chair is “when we will be able to resume in-person events?’ one which I suspect is familiar to most Branch Chairs. Restrictions are lifting and we hope to have at least one in-person event before the end of 2021. What COVID-19 has perhaps done is make people realise how important simple things like meeting up in person can be.

How will you implement and deliver success?
Our committee is key to our success, and committee members work hard in their various roles to develop and promote ADR in Scotland. Whether that be through running our own Education courses, or committee members simply promoting ADR within Scotland and around the World. We have committee members sitting on Scottish Government and court user groups which are also committed to developing ADR .   How will you use or expand social networking? / How have you used social networking?  We have our own webpage to keep members updated on the events and courses that we run. We also have our own LinkedIn and Twitter accounts which allow us to engage with our members. We have dedicated committee members that look after out our social media.

What will you do to engage younger members/students? / What have you done to engage younger members/students?
A number of years ago, the Branch took the decision to promote engagement with younger members. We have a young members group representative on our committee who, with support from committee, organises events to encourage young member engagement. The Branch gets involved in the work of Scotland’s Universities by supporting research, donating prizes and having committee members attend and participate in arbitration moot events.

How will you communicate more effectively with your members?
COVID-19 forced us to hold virtual events. The upside was that we started to see an upturn in attendees and were able to reach a much wider audience. Before the pandemic, the Branch held regular in-person networking events as well as a bi-annual conference which were well supported by members. While it will hopefully not be long before our regular in-person events return, we will continue to hold some events virtually to allow us to reach out to more members. We will continue to issue our newsletters electronically which, in addition to Branch information, contains a wide range of informative articles about what is happening in the world of ADR, both in Scotland and elsewhere.

Do you have a social media presence as a Branch? (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter).
The Branch uses social media and has its own LinkedIn and Twitter account. The Scottish Branch also has its own webpage on the CIArb site.

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