New rules to avoid disputes and encourage mediation are being considered for Scottish courts.

Proposals to encourage parties to consider mediation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedures before and during litigation have been announced by the Sheriff Court Rules Council.

The proposals are now in a period of consultation, due to end on 27 September.

Accredited mediator Alex Green, a partner at law firm CMS Cameron McKenna, said: "If the rules are adopted, it may have a similar impact in Scotland as it did in England, with claims reaching a compromise far more quickly."

The mediation committee made five recommendations including the provision of an in-court mediation service, which is currently being piloted in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh sheriff courts.

If the new rules are introduced parties will have to consider mediation at an earlier stage than before, and explain what ADR steps have already been taken.

Proposals for similar rules in Court of Session are expected in the next few months.