Mediators' Institute of Ireland Supports Obligation to Advise Disputing Parties to Consider Mediation

MII welcomes Minister Fitzgerald's comments of her intention to enact the Mediation Bill ahead of the general election

 

Wednesday, 8th July 2015: “I welcome the announcement by the Minister of Justice that the Mediation Bill will oblige lawyers to advise clients to consider mediation to resolve legal disputes. This requirement is an official endorsement of the efficacy of mediation and once the Bill is enacted, will divert many civil and commercial disputes from our courts and save billions in the process,” stated Gerry Rooney, President of the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland (MII) who was commenting on an address made by Minister Frances Fitzgerald last Monday as she launched the 2014 report of the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC).  

However President Rooney advocated that the obligation on lawyers to advise their clients to consider mediation would be best achieved by lawyers referring parties, at an early stage, to a mediation information session, carried out by a certified mediator, as the lawyers themselves may have a vested interest in the case. Referring to the generally poor uptake in family mediation, where lawyers had a similar requirement to advise their client on mediation, Rooney said the MII has made representations to the Minister on this important element.

President Rooney also pointed to the major cost savings that were identified by Tom Ward, Chief Clerk of the Dublin Circuit and District Courts during a pilot mediation programme that ended on 31 August 2013. Mr Ward reported that 831 cases concluded agreements, which resulted in saving an estimated 11.33% of court sitting time and annual savings of €119,476 in courts service costs plus €225,164 in legal and board costs

“Although there has been slippage in the scheduled date for publication of the Mediation Bill, the MII welcomes Minister Fitzgerald’s commitment to enact the Bill”, commented Gerry Rooney, President of The Mediators’ Institute of Ireland (The MII).

 “The MII is anxious to see the Bill published as soon as possible to enable the government enact the legislation during their term of office and deliver on a key element in the Programme for Government. We view the Bill as a very positive step in encouraging parties and their legal advisors to consider mediation for Civil and Commercial disputes.”

 

ENDS

Draft Mediation Bill 2012

Please follow this link to a copy of the draft version of the Bill which can also be found on the website of the Department of Justice http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/MedBillGSFinal.pdf/Files/MedBillGSFinal.pdf

The Government's Legislative Programme for theSpring session, which was posted on the Department of the Taoiseach's website on 14.01.2015 (http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/eng/Taoiseach_and_Government/Government_Legislation_Programme/) lists the Mediation Bill at No. 61 in their B List - Bills for which Heads of Bill have been agreed and text is being prepared. However, they give its expected publication date as late 2015. 

The Programme for Government calls for the encouragement and facilitation of mediation to resolve civil disputes.  The programme states that mediation will deliver significant cost and time savings for businesses and the State, and the MII has demonstrated significant savings can be made through mediation. The MII estimates that legal costs in relation to civil cases in 2011 are estimated to have been €1.17 billion – a huge figure considering our current financial situation.  This figure is calculated from figures contained in the 2011 Court’s Services Annual Report.  The formula takes costs claimed by the winning party, multiplies this by two to get the costs for both sides of the case and then takes account of the fact that 90 per cent of civil cases are settled before Court.  The MII has estimated that litigation costs relating to civil cases in 2010 was €1.3 billion and in 2009 it was €1.2 billion.

About The Mediators’ Institute of Ireland

The Mediators’ Institute of Ireland is the professional association for Mediators in Ireland. It is a not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to promote the use of quality mediation by ensuring the highest standards of education, training, professional practice and regulation.  

The Mediators' Institute of Ireland is a company limited by guarantee and registered in Dublin, Ireland. 

Its registration number is 418250.

Registered Office: 31/32 Fitzwilliam Square South, Dublin 2, Ireland. Registered Charity CHY16996.

About Mediation

Mediation is a voluntary process of conflict prevention and resolution that allows the parties an opportunity to address their issues in a confidential, private, and safe environment.  Mediators are trained in conflict resolution skills and techniques and have the expertise needed to give people the best possible opportunity to resolve their disputes.

Mediation is effective:

In single-issue and multi-issue disputes

In two-people and multi-party conflicts

In developing innovative and sustainable solutions when parties are willing but stuck

As a preventative intervention early in a conflict

As an alternative to avoid further costly public litigation

The mediation process improves communication, narrows outstanding issues, defuses emotions and defines areas of agreement.  Statistics show a success rate for mediation averaging 80 per cent. 

For further information see www.themii.ie or contact Stiofán Nutty at +353 87 6175488