As we all continue to look for new ways of keeping things “business as usual”, the importance of mediation has become more prevalent than ever. Alternatives to dispute resolution have become a more attractive prospect for parties facing lengthy delays in court listings. A practical and ‘ready’ solution is Mediation. Here’s everything you need to know about why mediation may be a pragmatic alternative to resolving your personal injury claim.
Litigation and Court Delays
Since the onset of COVID-19 restrictions, the Courts Service have experienced substantial hurdles in maintaining any form of normalcy. With the exception of urgent applications, all motion and hearing lists having been suspended and the considerable backlog in lists pose a huge threat to progress and resolution for all matters due to go before the Courts.
While it might be practicable for some matters to utilities virtual hearing facilities currently being piloted by the Irish Courts, other cases where oral evidence is essential still face huge delays.
The Law Society has had the smooth running of the courts system at the core of their agenda since COVID-19 closed Courts, but they have now recognised that “it is unlikely that we will return to the volume and process of cases traditionally heard in our courts for a very long time, if ever”.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is defined by The Mediation Act 2017 as a “confidential, facilitative and voluntary process in which parties to a dispute, with the assistance of a mediator, attempt to reach a mutually acceptable agreement to resolve the dispute.”
What are the Advantages of Mediation?
Mediation offers several possible advantages for resolving a dispute all while avoiding being caught in lengthy court lists:
- Matters are conducted by a neutral, independent third party called the mediator;
- The parties play a ‘hand-on’ roll in deciding how their dispute is resolved;
- There may be less costs associated than with conventional court-litigation;
- All discussions are entirely confidential, and they may not be used elsewhere if matters are not finally resolved in the mediation;
- It is a flexible process and does not require allocation of dates through saturated list systems like with the courts process;
- The process carries less risk than proceeding to a trial;
- Mediation can be conducted remotely through video conferencing tools
What are the Disadvantages of Mediation?
Mediation is not suitable for every case;
There is no guarantee that you will reach agreement through mediation. If this happens, you may have to go to court meaning this process has only added costs and delay;
- Mediation is a collaborative process, and if one party does not willing wish to engage, it is not a viable option;
- The parties to the mediation will determine whether the mediation settlement is legally enforceable between them. This is unlike a ‘settlement agreement’ which is treated by law as a binding contract unless the parties specifically state it has no legal force;
- Unlike with proceedings in the Courts process where “costs follow the event”, the costs of mediation shall be borne equally between disputing parties.
We here at Anthony Joyce & Company are exploring mediation as a means of resolving disputes. If you have any questions about entering mediation, please call us today.