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Does the Irish Mediation Act help pave the way for compulsory mediation here?

In October this year the  Mediation Act 2017 was enacted in Ireland and it brought compulsory mediation a step closer. The aim of the Act was to promote mediation as a viable, effective and efficient alternative to court proceedings. It set out the procedure to be followed and the factors to be considered.

But why should mediation be made compulsory? What are the advantages from the Irish Bill that could work over here?

Mediation offers a number of benefits, which I have seen first-hand. Some of these can be summarised as follows:

Are there any drawbacks or situations where mediation  doesn’t work?

The Irish Mediation Act introduced an obligation on solicitors and barristers to advise parties in disputes to consider utilising mediation as a means of resolving them and, where court proceedings are launched, requires parties to confirm to the court that they have been so advised and have considered using mediation as a means of resolving the dispute. This places mediation as a key step in any legal proceeding. The Act also impose costs sanctions on parties for failing unreasonably to engage in mediation.

It will be interesting to see if a similar Bill is proposed in the UK, after the recent Civil Justice Council Report. As an initial step the Civil Mediation Council has submitted a response to the Civil Justice Council Report, making the case for an Automatic Referral to Mediation. This would be in place of “Compulsory Mediation”

Roger Levitt