Arc Mediation was invited as one of 12 organisations to make submissions as stakeholders to the Joint Committee on Justice and Equality in relation to reform of the family law system, and in particular looking at the benefits of using mediation to resolve disputes.
The committee report was launched today November 24th, and we wholeheartedly support the 38 recommendations of the Joint Committee. 6 of the Committee’s recommendations are specifically about the use of mediation. It is recommended that judges tell litigants of the advantages of mediation and the Committee believes that families should be told at the outset that they:
“will be exposed to less stress, cost, time and risk if they could reach a settlement amongst themselves, rather than persisting with an adversarial process in which a Court will ultimately impose a decision.”
The report also acknowledges that information about mediation needs to be more available to the public to encourage people to try mediation before litigating. The cost benefits of mediation are acknowledged by the Committee, and the fact that better outcomes can be achieved. The Committee urge the Government to implement the provision in the Mediation Act 2017 to establish a Mediation Council, which:
“will provide a code of conduct for mediators and will provide users with information regarding the competency of mediators, set training standards and put in place a complaints procedure should issues arise”.
ARC’s submission was presented by Dr Roisin O’Shea at the March 6th hearing of the Joint Committee. The submission included contributions from Dr Sinead Conneely (WIT), Shane Dempsey (Partner ARC), Marie Dennehy (Associate ARC) and Nuala Jackson SC.