20 September 2017
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, T.D., today launched a brochure produced by the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland aimed at promoting the use of mediation in farm disputes.
Speaking at the National Ploughing Championships, the Minister said:
“As a practising solicitor for many years I am well aware of the distress and, indeed, the devastation, that can arise in disputes about farmland. In Ireland we have a deep emotional connection to the land, perhaps arising out of our historical experiences as a people.”
The Minister said that the Government strongly supports mediation as an alternative method of resolving disputes, and, indicated that he expects that the Mediation Bill will become law within the coming weeks and will usher in greater use of mediation in dispute resolution. He said:
“Court proceedings can be very costly, very stressful, and can take a great deal of time. The Mediation Bill is intended to promote mediation as a viable, effective and efficient alternative to court proceedings. The enactment of the Mediation Bill will speed up resolution of disputes, reduce legal costs associated with such disputes and reduce or avoid the stress involved in adversarial court proceedings.”
The Minister concluded that:
“Most importantly of all, from a family farm point of view, mediation allows the parties themselves agree the resolution to the dispute, and therefore provides a means for good relations between family, friends and neighbours to be maintained. Strong family networks and good neighbourly relations have always been a crucial part of the fabric of rural Ireland. Mediation can help protect that social fabric.”
The Minister thanked the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland for its work and urged those attending the Ploughing Championships to take home a copy of the leaflet.
Notes for Editors:
The Mediation Bill (2017):
· Introduces an obligation on solicitors and barristers to advise their clients to consider using mediation as a means of resolving disputes, and to provide their clients with details of mediation services;
· Provides that a court may, on its own initiative or on the initiative of the parties invite the parties to consider mediation as a means of resolving the dispute;
· Contains general principles for the conduct of mediation by qualified mediators;
· Provides that all communications (including oral communications) relating to a mediation shall be confidential;
· Provides for the introduction of codes of practice for the conduct of mediation by mediators.
· Provides for the possible future establishment of a Mediation Council to oversee development of the sector