Author: Stephen Alexander – The draft of a mediation bill was published by the Minister of Justice in Ireland in March. The bill is progressing its way through the corridors of Ireland’s legislative system and may become law by the end of 2012.
The principles of mediating are being introduced to Irish legal professionals, such as confidentiality. Confidentiality means that what occurs during the mediating process cannot be used in court or against the other party elsewhere. This is a new concept to the legal profession in Ireland, as normally courts are public arenas.
Another concept, interests versus positions, is being taught in training courses in Ireland. The idea of expanding the “pot” of solutions to disputes that can occur with a mediator, but not litigation is being explored there as well.
The mediator’s role in challenging the unrealistic demands and the management of expectations is novel to Irish litigators. The concept of caucuses or meeting separately is fresh to the legal system.
Though the pending bill does not provide for a mandatory mediator in Ireland, it does allow for parties to enter into the process voluntarily for their disputes. If made into a law, the process may entrench itself in yet another nation.