A new scheme to promote mediation between tenant farmers and landlords has launched.
The scheme, which has been developed by Scotland’s Tenant Farming Commisioner (TFC) Bob McIntosh, aims to make access to mediation easier in a bid to reduce litigation in the tenant farming sector.
It follows a successful pilot scheme, run between 2018 and 2020, which demonstrated the value of mediation to resolve disputes.
“With professional mediation, negotiations become respectful and constructive and the solutions arrived at invariably involve flexibility and creative thinking on both sides,” said Mr McIntosh.
“This new scheme will improve access to mediation services which can provide a more satisfactory way to resolve disputes rather than resorting straight to litigation – I hope that it will become the norm, in future.”
He said the pilot had shown mediation, which uses an impartial third party to help participants agree or find a solution that is acceptable to all parties, can potentially save thousands of pounds in costs.
The new scheme comprises three elements – a TFC gateway, an approved panel of experienced mediators, and a contribution towards the costs of mediation.
The TFC gateway is designed to ensure parties are suitable and ready for mediation and to enable access to TFC support and reassurances if required.
The contribution towards the cost of mediation will be provided by the Scottish Land Commission and cover one third of the total cost of the mediation process up to a maximum of £1,000.
NFU Scotland head of policy, Gemma Cooper, welcomed the scheme and said it will provide the tenant farming sector with confidence “to use what has previously been an under utilised option when it comes to dispute resolution”.
Full details of the scheme are here.