A recent survey of Managing Partners of more than 3,500 law and accountancy firms as well as barristers and other professionals reveals that mediation saves time, money and business relationships.
The respondents to the survey said that the key advantage of commercial mediation was in cost savings stating that the clients could end up saving up to 70% compared with litigation. Other key advantages mentioned were speed, control of the process, confidentiality and the preservation of business relationships. Respondents rank mediation as their first preference in dispute resolution, putting it before conciliation, arbitration and litigation.
We recognise that there are enormous benefits to our clients in mediation and it is clear now that mediation is likely to be put on a statutory footing with the first steps having already been initiated by the establishment of the Commercial Court which can adjourn proceedings at any time to allow a process of mediation. In practice, mediation takes place in nearly all cases proceeding in the Commercial Court as there are costs disadvantages if one were not to do so. The statistics available from the Irish Commercial Court indicate that almost 65% of cases referred to mediation last year were successfully settled.
Further steps to place mediation on a statutory footing should be made in Irish law before 21st May 2011 in respect of cross border commercial and civil disputes within the EU. This is required as a result of an EC Directive introduced last year which requires Member States, including Ireland, to implement national legislation to allow a court to invite parties to use mediation to settle cross border disputes and/or attend an information session on the use of mediation.
If you require more information on the process, please contact Harry Fehily or Aoife Walsh in our Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution Unit.