Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). It is a method of resolving disputes between two or more parties as the preferred alternative to litigating the matter in a court of law. A mediator is a 3rd party who helps or facilitates other parties to reach an agreement. There are many benefits to mediation, which may be summarised as follows: -
- Cost: The benefits of not litigating the matter in a court are obvious.
- Speed: Litigating an issue through the courts system will usually take a lot of time. If the matter can be resolved successfully through mediation, this will usually be to the benefit of the parties. The matter could conceivably be resolved in hours.
- Confidentiality: Unlike open court, the mediation process is conducted in confidence and in private aware from the spectacle of open court. No one but the parties to the dispute and the mediator will know what happened. Most legal systems go so far as to put confidentiality on a statutory footing and mediators will typically destroy there notes after a mediation. The only exceptions to this are a statutorily notifiable offence or ‘withholding information’ which could prevent the commission of an offense as with section 19 of the Criminal Justice Act (Ireland)
- Control: Mediation increases the control of the parties unlike the courts system where a judge can impose a settlement or sanction. A mediated settlement is more likely to produce a mutually acceptable settlement to both parties.
- Compliance: A mediated settlement is effectively a contract which is subject to the usual contractual remedy of specific performance. In Ireland, the 2012 Mediation Bill contains a provision which will enable a party to have such an agreement fully enforceable by the courts, thereby giving it the same status as a judgement.
- Mutuality: the parties to a mediation are usually there to work mutually to seek a resolution. The mere fact that the parties are prepared to mediate, usually implies that the parties are willing to compromise in an effort to achieve a settlement. This will have the added benefit of preserving a relationship between the parties to the dispute.
- Support: the mediator is there to support both parties in an effort to resolve the dispute.
Our Secretary, Mr. Kieran Cummins is an accredited mediator through Mediation Forum Ireland and is happy to assist in this form of dispute resolution.