Mediation is a process whereby a mediator helps parties who are in a dispute to come to an agreement through assisted negotiation. It is a quicker and cheaper alternative to litigation through the courts or to arbitration. A mediator is an individual qualified to deal with dispute resolution. The parties sit down with a mediator, sometimes together and sometimes one by one, to discuss and seek to resolve the dispute. The role of the mediator is to provide time and space for the parties to talk to each other in a safe informal environment. One of the key qualities of mediation is that it is voluntary. You can get up and leave at any stage.

There are countless situations where mediation is suitable, e.g. family disputes commercial/business/partnership disputes, employment disputes, boundary disputes between neighbours, banking disputes and community disputes.

All parties involved must agree to employ a mediator. They must sign up to an agreement before the mediation begins whereby they agree that everything discussed during the mediation process will remain strictly confidential and shall not be admissible in court.

The mediator organises a suitable date and place for the mediation. Complex matters will require more than one day of mediation. You should not expect a dispute which may have lasted years to be resolved in one day. The mediator must remain neutral and impartial at all stages of the mediation process. The mediator does not provide any legal advice. However, parties may agree to have their legal representatives present at the mediation.

Commercial/Business/ Partnership Disputes

Today, there are many companies in financial and other trouble. Is it necessary to wait for a day in court to resolve matters? Is it necessary to wait years for the resolution of the matter through arbitration? No. Mediation works successfully in business and partnership disputes . Could your business benefit from the services of an independent, impartial mediator and a process, which is voluntary and informal, hence, saving you time and money? Do you need the dispute or conflict dealt with sooner rather than later because your business is at a standstill until the problem is resolved? Do you need action now?

Family Law Disputes

Because it is far less confrontational than the Courts, which is important where there may be the custody and welfare of children involved, mediation is especially suited to family law disputes. However, it is advisable that you speak with your solicitor before you attend mediation so that you can make informed decisions at mediation stage and hence progress can be made. Mediation has proved to be so hugely successful in family law disputes that free services such as the Family Mediation Centre have presently an approximate three month waiting list.

Employment Disputes

There is huge pressure now on all services that seek to remedy employment disputes. Mediation can be a very useful tool for immediate action on a matter that requires urgent attention. Employment disputes such as Bullying, Harassment, Dismissal can all be dealt with successfully by way of mediation.

Banking Disputes

Many members of the public are now faced with the trauma of negotiating with the banks in an effort to find a resolution to their financial difficulties. Could mediation provide you with a process to enable fair discussion?

Mediation provides a method for people with disputes or conflicts to exercise their own choices and discretion and to regain a sense of control over their lives in resolving disputes. It is a means by which you can be an active participant and have direct involvement in the decision making process on issues which affect you.

-Aoife Thornton

Solicitor and Mediator (Accredited by the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland)