Litigating in Ireland can be a long and costly process. Notwithstanding this, our Courts are busier than ever. So, is there an alternative? In this article, DAC Beachcroft provide an overview of the mediation process.
Mediation is a tool that can be used for all types of disputes from slips and falls, to resolving conflicts within your team. It is a form of alternative dispute resolution, which is flexible, voluntary, and confidential.
The objective of mediation is for the parties to resolve the dispute through discussion and with the assistance of a neutral third-party, the mediator. The mediator does not make decisions or recommendations but facilitates open dialogue between the parties in a safe and confidential setting. Although mediation is not legally binding, it is common for the parties to enter into a final settlement agreement which can be enforced in the same way as any other contract. If a negotiated settlement cannot be achieved through mediation, the parties still have the option of proceeding through the courts.Key points:
In Ireland, the Mediation Act 2017 obliges solicitors to advise their clients to consider mediation prior to the issue of proceedings. The Act also provides that a court may invite parties to proceedings to consider mediation. More recently, in the case Sere Holdings Ltd v Health Service Executive the Irish High Court commented that litigation should be a last resort, particularly in disputes involving State agencies, and that parties should consider mediation.
There are a number of mediation services in Ireland, including the ‘Find a Mediator’ tool that can be found on the Law Society of Ireland’s webpage, lawsociety.ie/Find-a-Solicitor/Mediator-Search.
Simply put, mediation is a fast, practical, and commercial way of resolving disputes. Mediation offers a high degree of flexibility, and encourages the parties to be creative and find solutions that may not be available through litigation.
About the author:
Rowena Mc Cormack is partner in DAC Beachcroft specialising in dispute resolution. She works closely alongside the DAC Beachcroft Public, Professional & Regulatory Law team, which is led by Gary Rice, Partner. DAC Beachcroft has advised the IPU and its members for many years and specialises in the legal aspects of pharmacy practice. For more information on the contents of this article and dispute resolution, please contact Rowena Mc Cormack. For more information on any legal aspect of pharmacy practice, please contact Gary Rice.  IEHC 63