MII Questions Whether Adequate Resources have been Allocated to Deliver Mediation Services at the Workplace Relations Commission

MII advocate high standards in training and appointment of mediators 

Thursday, 11th June, 2015: “Given that the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) officially commences operations on October 1st next, the MII is concerned that the required preparations have not yet been undertaken to ensure successful provision of the Mediation Service as outlined by the Bill,” stated Dr Genevieve Murray, Specialist Liaison Officer for Organisation and Workplace Mediation at the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland (MII). 

The Workplace Relations Bill* was signed into law on May 20th and on June 8th last Minister Bruton announced that the Act will be commenced on 1st October 2015. This in turn means that the Workplace Relations Commission comes into being on the same day.

Dr Murray added, “The MII warmly welcomes the provision of mediation in the Bill, as a preferred process to resolve complaints and disputes. We note that the Labour Relations Commission (soon to become the WRC on enactment of the Bill) anticipates that 50% of these cases will be resolved through mediation. Despite this and unlike the Adjudication Service, where a panel of adjudicators has already been trained and are awaiting appointment, it appears that no similar arrangements have yet been made in relation to the provision of the Mediation Service. To achieve or exceed the 50% target it will be necessary that a panel of qualified and experienced mediators is soon appointed by the WRC. It is also crucial that these mediators undertake appropriate high quality mediation training and are certified as having achieved the standards necessary to become effective mediators. I am concerned that to date there does not appear to be clear guidelines regarding the training and standards that will be required of the mediators who will be appointed by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). ”

ENDS

*Workplace Relations Bill 2014 - Please follow this link for more details on the Bill http://www.oireachtas.ie/viewdoc.asp?fn=/documents/bills28/bills/2014/7914/document1.htm

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. 

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.

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