The Mediation Bill which has been around since 2012 was signed into law on the 2nd October 2017 as the Mediation Act 2017. It came into force on the 1st January 2018 with the Act reinforcing current provisions which recognise mediation in the Irish High and Commercial Courts and also in the Rules of the Superior Courts. The purpose of the Act is to promote increased awareness and to use an alternative dispute resolution tool known as mediation.
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Mediation is an informal procedure, where an impartial mediator assists disputants to resolve their differences and reach solutions in which the mediator has no stake.
The nature of mediation is that it is a voluntary process but section 21 of the Act allows courts to have regard to the unreasonable failure of a party to refuse to consider or attend mediation when awarding costs.