Five ways mediation helps the bottom line – and how you can help

The Mediation Bill 2017 has now been signed into law.

  • Potential to make major savings on cost, time and reputation in the commercial sector
  • New Diploma in Mediation Training to upskill and develop essential skills within the Irish economy to take advantage of new legislation

The Law Society of Ireland has been a long-term advocate for the use of mediation as an alternative approach to dispute resolution, and wants to help develop and grow a new generation of mediators to save businesses time, money and unclog the court system.

“Mediation is easily the preferred first step in commercial dispute resolution – and can offer numerous benefits to companies that actually save time, money and can even save a business’s reputation from potential harm,” said Ken Murphy, Director General, Law Society of Ireland.

“We welcome the Mediation Bill’s passing into law, with its intention to create a change in process and culture in dispute resolution. We believe it can make substantial improvements to the legal system and commercial sector in Ireland.”

There are five key benefits that mediation can offer in a commercial setting – many of which contribute directly to a business’s bottom line:

  1. Significantly faster process: Taking a dispute through the courts can take time. Mediation offers a way to avoid the courts and seek an earlier agreement quicker.
  2. Substantially lower costs: The costs associated with resolving a case through mediation are generally substantially lower than costs associated with progressing cases through the courts.
  3. Maintains confidentiality: Mediation is a private, confidential process which can benefit commercial entities who are seeking to protect their business and reputation during disputes. Accredited mediators are bound by confidentiality and either side of a dispute are only bound to disclose information voluntarily during mediation, whereas there is less disclosure control and more public exposure in a court setting.
  4. Offers greater level of control: Mediation offers the ability for both parties in a dispute to maintain a greater sense of control over the process and settlement. Mediators are also able to explore more creative solutions to disputes, and aim to seek a mutually satisfactory outcome. A court setting normally results in a judge imposing a settlement on the parties involved.
  5. Seeks a mutually-agreeable solution: Business relationships and reputations are critical to maintain. Finding a mutually-acceptable resolution to a dispute - particularly where a business relationship is expected to continue following that dispute – is a must for many and mediation offers this potential outcome. A collaborative approach to resolving a dispute can ameliorate any ill will in the relationship, whereas a court-imposed settlement often leaves one party aggrieved.

“The new legislation also means that any settlement reached in mediation can also be enforced by the courts, so offers a greater level of protection and certainty for business,” said Mr Murphy.

 “Estimates by the Irish Commercial Mediation Association are that mediation can save businesses up to 70% compared to the cost of going to Court.” 

Mediators Institute of Ireland report that over 80% of mediated cases are successfully resolved at the mediation or shortly after.”

“These statistics indicate that mediation is effective, efficient, and can offer positive financial benefits for commercial and public sector organisations. The added benefit to Ireland is that mediation also leads to less cases being pursued through the court system, making that system more efficient as well.”

Developing skilled mediators

The Law Society offers a Diploma in Mediation Training to those interested in developing their knowledge of the new legislation and increasing their skills in the process. The diploma is accredited by the Mediators Institute of Ireland, and features Sabine Walsh (President of Mediators Institute of Ireland) as lead tutor.

Find a mediator service

The Law Society website also features a ‘Find a Mediator’ facility, featuring 200 trained and experienced mediators available around Ireland.

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