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BIS have responded briefly to the recent consultation about the role of the Small Business Commissioner, to help with disputes between small and larger businesses, particularly as to late payment of invoices.

The response is quite unsatisfactory in that it appears short on detail as to how the system will work, but the Government will create a Small Business Commissioner to take on a ‘signposting’ role – and rather than the Commission itself offering a mediation service, the Commissioner will instead give information about other ADR providers in the market.

Until we see the detail it is difficult to say how signposting to mediation will help with late payment of debts, but it signals further confidence in ADR and mediation in particular to resolve b2b disputes at the same time as businesses are being steered towards ADR processes instead of litigation in the field of consumer disputes and complaints about lawyers. We are certainly seeing a surge of interest in our ADR certified scheme in the run up to 1 October 2015. The phone is constantly ringing with enquiries about our solicitors’ complaints service in particular.

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