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February 15 2018
The Mediation Bill 2017 was passed by the Houses of the Oireachtas and enacted on October 2 2017. On December 13 2017 the minister signed the commencement order of the Mediation Act 2017 and all sections were commenced as of January 1 2018.
The act's objective is to further promote mediation as an attractive alternative to court proceedings, in terms of time, cost, resources and the avoidance of acrimony. Although mediation may not be suitable for all disputes, the act provides a platform for parties to resolve their difficulties without commencing litigation where appropriate (albeit certain classes of case are excluded from its scope).
The key provisions of the act include the following:
It remains to be seen whether the act will lead to an increase in mediation and a reduction in litigation. However, the obligations referred to under Section 14 are the most significant from practitioner and client perspectives. Any party looking to commence litigation in Ireland should not therefore be surprised to hear about mediation as an option before proceedings are commenced.
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