The recent Act highlights the obligation for mediation in the Irish High and Commercial Courts, ensuring that complainants have considered mediation as a method of dispute resolution before they issue a complaint through the courts. The passing of the Act is a strong recognition that mediation has the potential to accomplish more positive outcomes for those involved whilst also lessening the strain on the Courts.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary method of dispute resolution through the use of negotiation and agreement between the parties involved. A neutral facilitator (the mediator) assists in the parties reaching and agreeing on a settlement. The mediator will recommend solutions which are accepted or rejected. If a mutual outcome is agreed, the settlement is recorded and signed, and is from then on legally binding for both parties. If the process does not result in an agreement, Court is the next step.
The mediation process is confidential to ensure parties involved do not have their disputes exposed to the public. Anything said and/or documents produced at mediation cannot be referred to in litigation if the case goes to Court.
The objective of mediation is to cut costs and time when resolving a dispute. Often, if the case still has to go to Court, the mediation process will still have resolved many issues that may have arisen, therefore making any litigation less expensive and time consuming than it may have been without mediation.
Why the new Mediation Act is Positive
- There is an obligation on solicitors and barristers to provide information on the advantages of mediation and advise their clients to consider mediation to resolve their dispute.
- Solicitors and barristers are to swear a statutory declaration confirming they have informed their clients of the mediation process and its benefits.
- Where court proceedings commence, parties are to confirm they have been advised and considered resolving their dispute through mediation.
- The Act contains codes of practice to ensure the correct mediation procedures are in place and carried out by qualified mediators.
- The role of the mediator is defined clearly, stating that they are present to assist parties to find a potentially successful method to resolve the dispute in question.
- All statements made by parties, both written and oral, are statutorily protected and are not to be disclosed within Court proceedings. This may not apply if disclosure is required to implement a settlement.
- Court proceedings will be suspended to assist a mediation process.
- An agreement will be signed by the mediator and the parties which will state the requirements of the mediation process, such as location and costs of the mediation, how it is conducted and the right to seek legal advice of requested.
Roisin is a professional mediator who has extensive experience working with a wide range of public, private and voluntary organisations across multiple business sectors, including health, education, public safety utility and government departments.
Specialising only in mediation and early conflict resolution, she has achieved an outstanding record of negotiated resolutions working on multi-issue and multi-party cases over a ten year period with consistently positive feedback from both clients and referral departments.
Her record of experience demonstrates a successful partnering with a range of human resource teams, legal advisers, interpreters and trade union representatives, mutually working together in a collaborative effort to secure a private and dignified resolution for a variety of employee disputes and issues.
With a unique background in Law, business and entrepreneurship, she is passionate about empowering leadership in the face of conflict and equipping management, human resources and project teams with the resources and skillset to prevent, manage and resolve destructive conflict that often drains the business of time, money and resources.
If would like to speak to Roisin in regard to Mediation, please get in touch on The HR Department.