Mediation - a cost effective alternative to the courts

Mediation - a cost effective alternative to the courts

The costs of going to court in Ireland are well documented, and a person could expect to spend over €50,000 per party per day in the High Court notes Independent General Election candidate, Cllr Marie Casserly.

There is a means of reducing both the time and cost involved in civil cases and Cllr Casserly recommends that parties consider Commercial mediation, which she says, has been shown to have approximately an 85% success rate in helping parties to a dispute to come to their own solution.

The parties normally appoint an independent mediator, either from a panel appointed by a professional body, or a person who both parties trust to undertake the role. Many mediators are legally qualified, however it is not necessary.

The mediation would normally take place within seven days of the appointment of the mediator, and the objective is for the parties to come to their own solution to the dispute.

The normal procedure on the day of a mediation is to have a joint meeting of the parties, followed by separate meetings between the parties and the mediator, with the objective of getting the parties to agree to a resolution. If the parties do not agree at the end of the day, the mediation is deemed to be complete and the parties can return to the courts to have them decide. Everything that takes place in mediation is confidential and without prejudice, which means you cannot use any information that comes out in the mediation in any further litigation. The process in entirely voluntary, which means that any party can walk away at any time.

Cllr Casserly, herself a qualified family mediator, says “We should be looking to mediation as a means of reducing the legal costs of ordinary people having access to justice. People should be told that there is the option of going to mediation as a means of settling civil disputes. Issues such as boundary disputes, commercial issues between small companies, as well as contractual matters could all be referred to mediation. This should have the effect of significantly reducing the costs associated with peoples’ access to justice, as well as clearing court lists.”