Gerry O'Sullivan Mediator's Toolkit book

Mediation Overview


Mediation in Ireland is governed by the Mediation Act, 2017. Link

Gerry O’Sullivan is an Advanced Member of the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland and practises under the Institute’s Code of Ethics. Link

Mediation is a process whereby an independent, neutral mediator(s) assists the parties to come to agreement though collaborative engagement. The mediator supports the parties in identifying their issues and needs, in exploring how these needs can be addressed and facilitates them to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. Mediation is not about blame or finding out who is right and who is wrong. The goal is that the parties will negotiate a workable future that does not have the problems of the past.

Mediation creates a safe and confidential space so that each party will feel heard and understood by an external, impartial mediator who will maintain confidentiality. The mediator provides a process that is safe for both parties and that allows them to communicate their interests and needs to each other so that they can negotiate and decide their mutually agreed solutions to their dispute. This is then written into an agreement document that is signed by both parties and the mediator.

Mediation allows the parties in dispute to have the conversation that they had been unable to have with each other, either because conversations ended up in rows and shouting or because they just did not have the courage to raise the issues with each other. The mediation process offers a space for each of the parties to air their concerns to each other. The parties will get a chance to talk about their situation without interruption. The role of a mediator is to provide a process where parties can hear and understand each other and will be able to reach an agreement that suits their interests and needs.

Mediation is suitable for workplace disputes; people engaged in commercial disputes; business partnership disputes; community and neighbor disputes; couples who have decided to separate or divorce; family disputes and other matters where the parties are open to resolving the matter in a low-cost and timely manner and where they would like to have control over the outcome and not just hope that the court judge will rule in their favour. Mediation is particularly useful where there has been a breakdown in a relationship and the disputing parties need to continue to connect with each other on a professional basis.

Mediation leads to successful resolutions in 80% of cases (Labour Relations Commission, 2003). Where the parties in mediation do not reach full settlement, parts of the disputes may be resolved, leaving fewer differences to be dealt with in arbitration or litigation.

The Role of the Mediator

The role of the mediator is to provide and manage the mediation process but not the outcome. The mediator’s role is to provide a process that will help the parties to reach a solution, but not to give them the solution. That is the responsibility of the parties.

The role of the mediator is to:

A mediator cannot be called upon to give evidence on behalf of either party at any stage. The process is without prejudice.

The Key Benefits of Mediation

Support Persons

There are occasions when parties in mediation may request a support person to be in attendance during the process. Depending on the nature of the mediation, this could be a solicitor, an accountant, a trade union representative or a work colleague, or even a family member. Both parties in the dispute need to agree to the support party chosen by the other party.

Legal and Financial Advisors

In the case of Civil and Commercial Mediation, the support of legal and financial advisors is crucial to the parties and the mediator will encourage the parties to seek advice throughout the process as appropriate. The attendance of solicitors during a mediation process is common. Solicitors play a role in supporting parties to identify their alternatives and in assessing and reassessing the risks and likely outcomes from the negotiation. They also play a role in writing up the mediated agreement, ensuring that the agreement meets all legal requirements.

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