Lawyers obliged to advise clients of the benefits of mediation
In the South of Ireland a new Mediation Bill is imminent and it is hoped by all supporters of mediation that it will significantly improve the take-up of mediation in commercial disputes. The benefits of mediation have already been recognised and were endorsed in a recent pilot mediation programme carried out by the Dublin Circuit and District Courts. A report on the pilot indicated that 831 mediated cases concluded in agreements, which resulted in saving an estimated 11.33% of court sitting time and annual savings of €119,476 in courts service costs, plus €225,164 in legal and board costs.
Add to these figures the cost-savings to the parties involved and it is hard to see why mediation has not yet taken off in the North. Government departments here are still slow to embrace the concept and lawyers in private practice even slower. Perhaps if one of the provisions of the new Mediation Bill were to be enacted in Northern Ireland it might make a difference – the provision that will oblige lawyers to advise clients to consider mediation to resolve legal disputes.
Gerry Rooney, President of the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland said ‘This requirement is an official endorsement of the efficacy of mediation and once the Bill is enacted, will divert many civil and commercial disputes from our courts and save billions in the process,”
If lawyers advised their clients at the outset of the likely costs of a case proceeding to Court and the fraction of those costs that would be incurred in mediation there would be very few clients who would not want to at least try the mediation route.
Even without a legislative obligation are we really serving our clients effectively if we do not advise them of this option?
For more information on commercial mediation contact Dorcas Crawford here>>