Posts Tagged ‘Mediation Services’

A cheaper way of resolving disputes away from courts

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Regarding John Shirley’s article concerning exorbitant fees on page four of the Farming Independent of June 28, other problems can also beset litigation in the courts.

These include delay, lack of control by the parties, lack of availability of judges and uncertainty of outcome, not to mention the publicity and the stress on the parties.

There is an alternative and vastly cheaper means of dispute resolution known as alternative dispute resolution or ADR.

There are various types of ADR, including mediation.

While it’s not possible to outline all aspects of mediation in a short description, basically, it can be said that the mediator, who is generally specially trained and accredited and will be completely impartial, informs the parties of the process and organises a neutral venue agreeable to the parties with comfortable rooms for each side.

On the day, the mediator moves between the rooms and generally nudges each side towards resolution — only bringing such information from one side to the other as he or she is strictly authorised to do.

A stage is generally reached when the parties are brought together in one room with the mediator to iron out final details.

The whole procedure is completely voluntary, confidential, private and without prejudice and either side is completely free to leave if and whenever they wish.

The ground rules are sorted in advance in a written agreement to mediate. Contrary to the court process, the parties are in charge of the mediation process.

Nothing arising out of the mediation is binding until such time as a resolution is arrived at, committed to writing and signed. In most cases, it is vital that the parties would have independent legal advice before actually signing the mediation agreement.

The mediator is not an adviser or a judge and does not make decisions binding on the parties.

Most mediations are completed in a day – though often a long day.

The process is widely used in disputes involving wills, succession, the workplace, debts, title to property, neighbours, landlord and tenant, business and partnership problems and so on.

An apology is possible without compromising the legal position of the person giving it.

The cost of the mediator for the day, and for the necessary work beforehand, which might be around a few thousand euro (as opposed to possibly hundreds of thousands in the court process) is divided between the parties.

Furthermore, a consequence of the resolution is often the resumption of good relationships between the parties.

Actually, the process is very useful also at the stage where there is just a disagreement or even different viewpoints, as opposed to a dispute as such. In general, as you can imagine, the sooner the process is engaged in, the better.

For the process to work, both sides have to want it to work.

The process is being actively encouraged by both judges and the Government as a means of cutting costs to the State — as well as being of great benefit to society generally.

Oliver Ryan-Purcell is an accredited mediator and consultant solicitor. He recently joined the new mediation division of the Co Tipperary-based Rea Group consultants

- Oliver Ryan-Purcell


Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Irish Farmers Monthly

Martin & Rea Agricultural Consultants has launched three new Services: Mediation, Debt Management and
Rural Business Development. Speaking at the launch, Richard Rea said he found it thoroughly amazing
that the Head of NAMA, the Bankers and the Financial Regulator are lacking in imagination as to how to
put in place a mini-NAMA for small borrowers and businesses. He pointed to the Farm Rescue package of
the 1980’s and said a similar package was necessary today for farmers. Tom Dawson, Agronomy Director
of Services with the Company, said farmers have been very badly affected, particularly at the back end of
last year and early this year. He said they are struggling with credit, and are experiencing great difficulty in
getting credit lines agreed with their Institutions. He said the Company had recently helped a farm family
where – in a Transfer situation, with all the Loans in the Parents’ name – the son, who was taking over the
farm, was looking to get it all transferred into his name. However, the Bank was looking to increase the
Credit Terms and more security than what was there originally. “In fairness, a lot of local Banks are quite
willing to talk to us and try and make a deal, but they are coming under pressure too from higher up the
line. Back in the 1980’s, when we were involved in a lot of this type of work, Bank Managers had more
autonomy than they do now”. While Interest Rates are nothing like they were in the 1980’s, he says
the level of Debt is substantially higher in a lot of cases. Coupled with this, the level of farm income is
making it more difficult for farmers to make the repayments.

Farmers urged to turn from law to mediation

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Irish Independant

By Caitriona Murphy

(from left) Tom Dawson, Rea Group; Mark Fielding, ISME; Minister of State for Labour and Reform of the Public Service Dara Calleary; Richard Rea, Rea Group; Evelyn O’Donnell. Donal T Ryan & Co solicitors; barrister Michael O’Connor and Oliver Ryan-Purcell, Rea Group agri-law consultant, take a break at the launch of the Rea Group Mediation service in Cashel, Co Tipperary

Ireland is now regarded as one of the most expensive countries in the world for litigation.

A typical farm-family dispute over a will in the circuit court is estimated to cost a minimum of €15,000 plus VAT for each side.

However, Rea Group, the Tipperary-based farm consultancy firm, has launched a new mediation division, which, they argue, could cost significantly less for individuals involved in farm disputes.

Led by well-known solicitor Oliver Ryan-Purcell and barrister Michael O’Connor, the new division will handle succession and inheritance issues, neighbour disputes, landowner/ tenant problems, commercial leasing, shareholder disputes and large debt recovery.

Speaking at the launch of the mediation service, Mr Ryan-Purcell described litigation as “going for the jugular”.

“The court process is cumbersome, expensive, time consuming and stressful,” he said.

“Using mediation could avoid decades of litigation. A mediator’s intervention at an appropriate time could save hundreds of thousands of euro in court costs.

“It could be the difference between the happy survival of a united farm or family business on the one hand or the destruction of a farm or business and an unending feud on the other,” he added.

Barrister Mr O’Connor said mediation would be very useful in a farm scenario where the father leaves everything to one child and the other children immediately challenge the will.

“If there are several claims, that means the sale of the farm,” said Mr O’Connor.

“There is a winner-takes-all aspect to court litigation, but mediation offers an alternative and is now being encouraged through the court system,” he added.

Mediation is a simple process involving one or more meetings between a mediator and individual parties to the dispute or the parties together.

The mediator guides and facilitates the process by helping the parties to explore all options to achieve settlement.