Mediation is a flexible alternative to litigation that allows parties achieve their own solution to their problems.
In many situations it can be a superior alternative to litigation, especially for family related disputes or those where confidentiality is paramount.
Mediation has numerous advantages over the court system which may make it a more attractive option for those about to embark on a lengthy battle through the courts.
The process is informal (compared to the rigorous court procedures) and involves a neutral third party with relevant expertise actively assisting negotiations between the parties so that a common ground can be found.
Any agreement will only be achieved by mutual acceptance by the parties, as opposed to litigation where too often both parties are left dissatisfied with the result.
The parties will also have complete control over how the process will run. It is a private affair and the parties are free to fully engage in the process. This is not the case in litigation where any negotiations that take place will be between legal advisors, away from the ears of the clients themselves.
Any agreement reached by mediation will also be enforceable by having the same force of law as a contract.
These benefits make mediation an attractive alternative to litigants who may be reluctant to engage with the courts system and the frustrations that come with it. The process can also be far more cost effective than litigation.
At present the Mediation Bill 2012 is making its way through the Dail and is expected to be enacted later this year.
The Bill will further facilitate and encourage mediation as an alternative means of dispute resolution by imposing an obligation on all legal practitioners to advise their clients on the benefits of mediation as an alternative to litigation.