Mediation Bill 2017 – The Future of Mediation

March 6, 2017

The Mediation Bill 2017, in the Republic of Ireland has been eagerly awaited. It was included in the Government legislative programme as priority legislation during the Dáil term in 2016, published on 13 February 2017 for consideration.

This Bill firmly puts mediation at the centre of the legal process and clearly promotes mediation as an effective and efficient alternative to Court proceedings. Mediation in its simplest terms is an open and voluntary process where the parties to a dispute attempt to reach a mutually acceptable agreement in the confidential forum of mediation with a trained mediator.  The Mediators’ Institute of Ireland has welcomed the Mediation Bill owing to its comprehensive statutory framework.

Whilst the Mediation Bill is not applicable in Northern Ireland, it clearly illustrates the growing need for parties and their legal advisers to consider mediation prior to or throughout legal proceedings. The importance of mediation and its encouragement by the Courts in our own jurisdiction is evident in Order 1 Rule 1(a) the Rules of the Court of Judicature (Northern Ireland) 1980.

This Bill opens the way for our own legislator to follow suit. Significantly the Mediation Bill 2017 obliges solicitors and barristers to advise their Clients to consider using mediation as a means of attempting to resolve the dispute. This reduces the cost for the parties in the long term, particularly as it is intended that mediation will be considered prior to any proposed proceedings.

We are heavily involved in the promotion of mediation services in Northern Ireland. We frequently work with mediators from both the Dispute Resolution Service and the Barrister Resolution Service, in delivering a cost effective and commercial solution for our Clients.  We have a number of trained mediators within the Dispute Resolution Department, along with accredited members of the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland across the firm.

The progression of the Mediation Bill 2017 will shape the future of mediation across the jurisdictions.

A copy of the Mediation Bill 2017 can be found at https://www.oireachtas.ie/viewdoc.asp?DocID=34522&&CatID=59.

Please note that the content of this Article is for information purposes only and further advice should be sought from a professional legal adviser before any action is taken.