A New Year’s “Resolution”

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The Mediation Act 2017 commenced on 1 January 2018.

The Act obliges solicitors to do the following before issuing court proceedings in civil matters on behalf of a client:

  1. Advise the client to consider mediation as a form of dispute resolution;
  2. Provide the client with information regarding mediation, including the names and addresses of the people who provide mediation services;
  3. Inform the client of the advantages of alternative dispute resolution and of the benefits of mediation;
  4. Inform the client that mediation is voluntary and, that it may not be an appropriate means of resolving the dispute where the safety of the client and/or their children is at risk;
  5. Inform the client that they (the solicitor), will have to sign a statutory declaration confirming that they have complied with their obligations. This statutory declaration is required before any legal
    proceedings can be commenced and it must be lodged in the relevant court office with the originating document used to commence legal proceedings (i.e., a summons or notice of motion); and
  6. Inform the client that if the statutory declaration is not provided, the court will adjourn the legal proceedings.

In family law cases, parties will be required to attend mandatory information sessions (which Trinity Mediation Services provides) on mediation. Even after proceedings have issued, the court may invite the parties to consider mediation.

In personal injuries cases there is a possibility that a court will direct that the parties must go to mediation where the court considers that Mediation would assist in reaching a settlement. In other High Court litigation, for example in the Commercial court or otherwise in civil proceedings, the court has the
power to adjourn proceedings to allow the parties to consider going to Mediation. There may be adverse costs consequences for a party if they unreasonably refuse to participate in Mediation.

The benefits of mediation and indeed the appreciation for its presence on the Statute Book saw the Department of Expenditure and Reform issue Circular 17/2017 which is effective since 26 October 2017, which, in effect obliges Government Departments, offices and public bodies to consider resolving
workplace, contract and other disputes through mediation before issuing proceedings or engaging in arbitration.

Trinity Mediation Services offer a professional, practical and common sense approach to resolving disputes. Trinity Mediation Services offers guidance, solutions and agreement through fact-finding, option development and reality testing. For more see: www.trinitymediationservices.ie

This document is for information purposes only and is not a legal review or legal advice. Trinity Mediation Services assumes no responsibility for any use to which the information may be put. This document is not a substitute for specialist legal advice, where appropriate.

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