The Agricultural Law Association’s (ALA) new Dispute Resolution Panel will streamline access to a broad spectrum of arbitrators, mediators, and experts for rural businesses.
“This is the only inter-professional dispute resolution panel available to the rural sector and reflects the diversity and increasing complexity of rural businesses and agricultural enterprises,” says Alex Carson-Taylor, ALA chair. “Those appointed to the panel have been independently assessed through a rigorous process and have demonstrated excellence in an extensive range of skill sets including law, surveying, accounting, tax and trusts.”
Mike Holland, secretary and adviser to the ALA, says that because rural businesses are so diverse, it’s not a case of one size fits all when it comes to arbitrators, mediators or those acting in an expert determination role. “The panel provides professionals to reflect the many different property and business issues that can arise for owners, tenants, contractors and others.”
For example, if parties have a legal issue rather than a valuation issue under an Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 tenancy, the panel offers experts with specific legal knowledge, says Mr Holland.
“The panel provides a cost effective alternative to court or tribunal proceedings,” he adds.
Provisions set out in the Agriculture Bill (which will become the Agriculture Act 2020) designate the ALA as a professional authority for the appointment of arbitrators under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 and the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995. “Once the legislation comes into effect, it will provide greater choice than has previously been available when only a single body was able to appoint arbitrators,” says Mr Holland.
The panel is completely transparent and in full public view to enable the parties to choose the most appropriate and qualified professional to deal with their situation, he adds. “Our panel members are available for direct appointment by the parties involved in the dispute. The aim is for them to be empowered to resolve disputes quickly, efficiently and with the best professional expertise available.” Alternatively, the ALA can appoint an appropriate panel member to a dispute on request.
The full list of Panel Members can be viewed at https://aladisputeresolution.co.uk.