It’s Mediation Awareness Week – an alternative way of resolving disputes

Jan 30, 2020

Mediation Awareness week, running from 8 to 13 October 2018, will put the spotlight on resolving conflict through mediation.

Resolving disputes effectively

The Law Society of Ireland has been a long-term advocate for the use of mediation to resolve disputes as appropriate and consistent with solicitors’ over-arching duty to assist clients to find the most efficient and cost-effective way to resolve disputes and to always act in the clients’ best interest. The Society has been a supporter of Mediation Awareness Week since its inception.

“Mediation is easily the preferred first step in commercial dispute resolution – and can offer numerous benefits to businesses that actually save time, money and can even save a business’s reputation from potential harm. We welcomed the coming into force of the Mediation Act on 1 January 2018, with its intention to create a change in process and culture in dispute resolution. We believe it is already making substantial improvements to the legal system and commercial sector in Ireland” said Ken Murphy, Director General, Law Society of Ireland.

Benefits of Mediation

There are five key benefits that mediation can offer in a commercial setting – many of which contribute directly to a business’s bottom line:

  1. Significantly faster process: Taking a dispute through the courts can take time. Mediation offers a way to avoid the courts and seek a resolution agreement quicker.
  2. Substantially lower costs: The costs associated with resolving a case through mediation are generally substantially lower than costs associated with progressing cases through the courts.
  3. Maintains confidentiality: Mediation is a private, confidential process which can benefit commercial entities who are seeking to protect their business and reputation during disputes. Accredited mediators are bound by confidentiality and parties are not bound to disclose information during mediation and may do so voluntarily, whereas there is less disclosure control and more public exposure in a court setting.
  4. Offers greater level of control: Mediation offers the ability for both parties in a dispute to maintain greater control over the process and resolution. Mediators are also able to explore more creative solutions and assist parties to reach agreement that is mutually beneficial. A court process usually results in a judge imposing an outcome on the parties.
  5. Seeks a mutually-agreeable solution: Business relationships and reputations are critical to maintain. Finding a mutually-acceptable resolution to a dispute – particularly where a business relationship is expected to continue following that dispute – is a must for many and mediation offers this potential outcome. A mediated resolution can reduce or eliminate conflict, whereas a court-imposed outcome often leaves one or both parties aggrieved

“The Mediation Act also means that any settlement reached in mediation can also be enforced by the courts, so offers a greater level of protection and certainty for business,” said Mr Murphy.

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