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The Irish Mediation Industry

The Irish Mediation Industry

How is the mediation industry faring in Ireland?

 

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For now mediation is still very much in its infancy in Ireland, and in particular commercial mediation. Family mediation started out here probably 30 years ago, and hasn’t enjoyed tremendous success. Commercial mediation started probably about 10 years earlier or so ago, and with that has kind of been slow enough to take hold.

 

We are a very litigious country, and maybe that’s Western society, I don’t know what it is or how different we are to others because the evidence here is that the courts are stuffed full. Getting a case to court in Ireland takes an awful long time, through any of the courts, in particular the High Court, where it can take up to two years to have a very simple average case heard in an Irish court. And God forbid should you need to go to appeal on that, to a higher court or the Supreme Courts can take four to five years. So it takes an awful long time, which basically means there’s an awful lot of that going on.

 

Judges are hugely frustrated by it, and finding themselves having to hear stuff in courts that they really feel they shouldn’t be hearing. And with that, the new rules that have come in over the last couple of years courtesy of the EU, where judges are allowed, and parties are allowed to apply for mediation. Many judges now are turning to parties in advance of hearing cases to ask them to consider mediation. Not force it upon them, but ask them to consider mediation. Yeah, and just in particular, our commercial court in Ireland, which has been set up over the last, I think five or seven years, which practices case management, unlike all the other courts. And the head of that court, Justice Peter Kelley, has become a really strong advocate of mediation. And very regularly now in the commercial court, which hears only cases valued at a million Euro plus, know taking your case to commercial court, Justice Peter Kelly’s going to ask you, ‘Have you tried mediation? And if not, please go and try it now.’ So, yes, that is the way things are happening. But slowly, in terms of the growth of mediation work, yes, more and more cases are going to mediation.

 

We’re not good on statistics and information because mediations are confidential and private processes, it’s hard to get numbers, but anecdotally, among colleagues and among the league of the profession and so forth, and particularly among the larger and more sophisticated law firms, you’ll find that more and more cases are being recommended and considered for mediation. Albeit maybe at later stages, but still it’s a growing factor in the dispute resolution world here.

About the mediator

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An independent mediator and business consultant with a strong accountancy and business background, Austin is also chairman and non-executive director of three companies. Austin also has experience in the property, manufacturing and retail sectors. Austin was accredited as a CEDR mediator in 2004 and has since completed the MATA advanced mediator training in 2008. He has been a practitioner member of MII and panel member of International Mediator... View Mediator