Jarleth Heneghan and Cassandra Byrne deliver an update following the implementation of the EU Mediation Directive and ask what does it mean for CPAs?
Mediation has become an increasingly important and relevant mechanism for Irish businesses in resolving disputes. Recent years have seen a drive at EU and national levels to encourage alternative ways of resolving disputes. An alternative to lengthy litigation or arbitration, mediation can offer swift conclusions at lower costs and where selected can be very effective. So what do CPAs need to know about mediation?
Mediation - What, When and Why?
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) option for resolving disputes between two or more parties. A third party neutral acts as a mediator between parties to facilitate negotiation of a dispute. If agreement is reached, a binding settlement agreement can then be completed.
Parties can voluntarily agree to go to mediation or alternatively mediation can be prescribed either by the contract or ordered by the courts. The courts particularly are currently strongly encouraging mediation.
Unlike litigation, mediation aims at a resolution that takes into account everyone's interests. Parties play active roles in crafting their own solution which effectively meets their needs and interests. Parties therefore maintain significant control over the process and retain the right to withdraw from the process at any time.
Advantages of Mediation
Mediation provides greater opportunity for parties to reach mutually satisfactory solutions in a shorter period of time to that of litigation or arbitration. The timing and speed of mediation is effectively determined by the parties. There are particular advantages in attempting mediation early in a dispute, even before formal proceedings, as it is likely to produce better results and less expense for clients. With few exceptions, mediation is a private and confidential process.
However, there are circumstances where mediation may not be appropriate. For instance, mediation is not suitable when parties are trying to enforce judgements or awards or seek injunctive relief. There is also no right of appeal from mediation once a settlement agreement is concluded.
Relevance of Mediation to CPAs
CPAs are often required by parties to either act on their behalf in providing financial information or advice before or during mediation. Given the increased pace of commercial transactions and disputes, clients...