The Minister for Justice and Law Reform, Dermot Ahern, T.D., has introduced new court rules to promote mediation and conciliation in proceedings in the Superior Courts. The rules were introduced following provisional recommendations from the Law Reform Commission in its Consultation Paper on alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
The rules provide for a mechanism similar to the type used extensively in the Commercial Court whereby a judge can order the parties to engage in ADR. The provisions specify that the refusal or failure without good reason of a party to participate in mediation or conciliation may be taken into account by the court when awarding costs. The aim of this measure is to minimise the cost of the proceedings and to ensure that the time and other resources of the court are employed optimally.
The rules also complement the provision in section 32 of the Arbitration Act 2010 introduced by the Minister earlier this year which facilitates recourse to arbitration in disputes already the subject of litigation.
Announcing the move, the Minister said: "Mediation is increasingly recognised as a cost effective and timely means of resolving disputes. Parties are generally more satisfied with solutions that have been mutually agreed, rather than a solution imposed by a third party. Those who have reached agreement through mediation are also generally more likely to follow through and comply with its terms.
I see real benefits to the parties involved and to the State in promoting the greater use of mediation and other ADR systems within the courts as an alternative to litigation in appropriate circumstances."
The Rules of the Superior Courts (Mediation and Conciliation) 2010 will come into operation on 16 November 2010.
28 October 2010