What is Mediation?
Mediation is a confidential and voluntary process of conflict resolution governed by the 2017 Mediation Act and the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland’s Code of Ethics and Practice (please refer to http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2017/act/27/enacted/en/pdf and https://www.themii.ie/code-of-ethics-and-practice).
The role of the Mediator is to support each Party and to effectively manage the mediation process to ensure the best possibility of resolution, while having regard to the particulars of the situation.
To enable full and frank discussion, the mediated discussions are strictly confidential and without prejudice. The obligations of confidentiality apply to all Parties, any attending advisors or support persons, the Client and the Mediator, and extend from the initial approach to the Mediator, throughout the mediation process and continue indefinitely after the mediation has ended. The exclusions to confidentiality are set out in the MII Code of Ethics and Practice (see link above).
While the Mediator will remain neutral and impartial throughout the process, their role is an active role, whereby they support each Party to engage in constructive and focussed discussions in an effort to address their core issues and to reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
Benefits of Mediation
There are many benefits to mediation, including:
- Less adversarial: Mediation is an interest-based process based on collaborative engagement. Any agreements arising from the mediation must be acceptable to both Parties, allowing for a level of closure and sustainable outcomes not generally associated with third-party judgements.
- Lower cost: In terms of financial and personal costs, mediation is less expensive and less stressful than rights-based interventions such as tribunal or Courts.
- Protection of privacy: The confidential nature of mediation allows the Parties to engage freely and productively, without fear of publicity or reputational damage.
- Party control: While the Mediator manages the process of mediation, the Parties determine the content and the outcomes of the process.
- Swift settlement: Mediation can be scheduled soon after a dispute arises and, following the pre-mediation meetings, can often be concluded in a single day.
- Creative solutions: Mediation allows for creative solutions and outcomes, crafted by the parties and tailored to their unique requirements and situation.
- Preservation of options: Engagement in a mediated intervention does not preclude participation in a different dispute resolution process, unless agreed as part of a Mediated Settlement.
- Long-term learning: By gaining an understanding of the dynamics of the conflict, Parties often gain valuable insights that may help them to manage future issues more effectively.
How Successful is Mediation?
The mediation process improves communication, narrows outstanding issues, defuses emotion, and defines areas of agreement, leading to successful resolutions in 80% or more of cases (Labour Relations Commission, 2004; CIPD, 2008; Law Reform Commission, 2010;).
Principles of mediation
- Engagement in mediation is strictly voluntary – any Party or the Mediator may withdraw at any stage of the process.
- Mediation is strictly confidential and this confidentiality applies to every stage of the mediation process and extends beyond the mediation, whether a Mediation Settlement is reached or not.
- The role of the Mediator is non-directional and impartial. The Mediator plays an active role but does not advise the Parties or take sides.
- The Parties have the right to self-determination and any mediated outcome must be mutually agreeable to the Parties.
Mediation is a flexible process which can be adapted to the particular needs of the Parties and stakeholders.
 Labour Relations Commission (2004, p.24): Annual Report 2003: Ireland
 CIPD (2008): Workplace Mediation—How Employers Do It: CIPD London
 Law Reform Commission (2010, p.150-p.151): Alternative Dispute Resolution: Mediation and Conciliation: Ireland, Law Reform Commission of Ireland
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