The Mediation Act is now in force - What does this mean for you?

By Dr Róisín O’ Shea & Dr Sinead Conneely

On January 1st 2018, the Mediation Act became law, and we finally have the much-needed foundation for the development of mediation in Ireland.

Although Mediation has been successfully used to resolve disputes for decades in Ireland, the statutory promotion and regulation of the profession of mediation in Ireland has, up until now, been absent. According to the CEDR Ireland/Irish Commercial Mediation Association (ICMA) Audit 2013, mediations have increased by 739% between 2003 and 2012 and 73% of all mediations surveyed reached agreement.

With mediation clearly gaining ground in recent years as a dispute resolution alternative to court proceedings, the publishing of the draft Mediation bill in early 2012 by then Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, was an exciting moment for those of us involved in the field of mediation. However, it has taken almost 6 more years for that legislation to get over the line.

The Mediation Act applies to all mediated disputes, including commercial civil disputes and family law disputes. The greatest area of uptake of mediation to date, nationally, is in relation to family disputes. Family Mediation has historically been offered through the state-run Family Mediation Service (FMS), research projects, community offerings and private mediators. Based on international research, family conflict derives the most benefit from mediation intervention at an early stage, with binding agreements which can be enforced.

What is mediation?

The new Act defines mediation as “a confidential, facilitative and voluntary process in which parties to a dispute, with the assistance of a mediator, attempt to reach a mutually acceptable agreement to resolve the dispute”. It is voluntary, confidential, and is a process facilitated by a mediator or mediators, who assist parties to arrive at their own decisions. Any resolution reached will be set out in a written agreement, which the Act refers to as a “mediation settlement”, and that agreement is signed by the parties and the mediator or mediators.

So what will this new piece of law mean for you?

For the first time, there is now a statutory obligation to consider mediation before making a court application for any civil dispute, whether it be a probate dispute, a breach of contract or a family law matter, and anyone who wishes to litigate a dispute must confirm to the courts that they have considered mediation. The Act applies to all litigation disputes apart from arbitration, certain disputes under tax and customs legislation, and proceedings under the Domestic Violence Acts or Child Care Acts. Your solicitor, before issuing proceedings, must now advise you about the advantages and benefits of mediation, and provide information on mediation to include the contact details of persons who provide mediation services. If you decide you don’t want to try mediation, then your solicitor must complete a statutory declaration to say that they have fulfilled their duty to make you aware of the benefits of mediation and have provided the relevant information to you. When your case comes before the judge, he or she, or on the application of the other party, may invite you to once again consider mediation. If you refuse to consider or attend mediation, a judge may now award costs against you, if he or she feels that your refusal is unreasonable.

What is the role of the Mediator?

The Act says that before mediation commences a mediator must provide you and any other party with an “agreement to mediate” which should set out the structure, timetable, and process, their terms and conditions to include what the charges will be and how fees will be paid, the confidential nature of the process, the right to seek legal advice, and the manner in which mediation may be terminated. The mediator must make reasonable enquiries to check that he or she does not have a conflict of interest, and provide you with relevant details such as their qualifications, their training and experience, any ongoing continuing professional development training, and a copy of any code of practice that may be approved by the Minister.  

The Act requires the mediator to act impartially and in a fair manner, completing the mediation as expeditiously as possible in the circumstances. The outcome of mediation must be determined by the parties, although the mediator may make proposals for resolution of the dispute when requested to do so by the parties, and the parties can decide whether to accept such proposals.

What does the Act say about Confidentiality?

The Act supports the confidentiality of the mediation process. All communications, including any oral statements, and any notes and records relating to mediation are confidential and may not be disclosed. Clarity is also provided in terms of when confidentiality would not apply, which includes where it is necessary for the performance or enforcement of a mediation settlement; where material introduced into mediation is normally admissible or subject to discovery in legal proceedings; where it is necessary to prevent physical or psychological injury to a party; where disclosure may be required by law, or required to prevent or reveal a criminal matter, or where it is necessary to prove or disprove a claim of misconduct or negligence against a mediator.

Are Mediated Agreements Enforceable?

There has been much debate in the last few years about the enforceability of signed mediated agreements, although any such agreement that was intended to be legally-binding could of course be enforced as a contract. The Act provides clarity on enforceability, and says that the parties to a mediation can decide if a mediated settlement (agreement) is intended to be legally binding, and if they do intend the agreement to have legal force, it is enforceable as a contract. Any such agreement must be based on full and mutual disclosure of assets, and it must not be contrary to public policy. Before any settlement agreement is signed the mediator must ensure that the parties are aware of their rights to each obtain independent advice, to include legal advice. Other advices may be required on matters such as taxation, the valuation of assets etc. The Act also provides that you can have a mediation settlement (agreement) that is not intended to be legally binding. So long as this is stated in the agreement, then it will have no legal force, until some later date, when the terms of that agreement are incorporated into another agreement that is intended to be legally binding.

When can I engage in Mediation?

You can engage in mediation at any time, even when proceedings have been issued, up until the point that the Court makes a final determination. As it is a voluntary process, all parties must agree to participate. If you are invited by the judge to try mediation, and all parties agree, then your case can be adjourned to allow time for mediation to take place.

What is a Mediator Report?  

Where your case is adjourned, following an invitation by the judge to attend mediation, but the case comes back to court, the mediator must prepare a “written report” for the judge. This report must indicate why mediation did not take place, or where mediation did commence, the mediator must indicate if a mediation settlement was reached, and whether that agreement dealt with some or all of the issues. The mediator must provide a copy of this report to the parties at least 7 days before it is submitted to the court.

What are the obligations of solicitors?

During the process of mediation a client may seek legal advice from their solicitor at any time, and in some cases the solicitor may be asked to attend mediation with their client. Should the client wish for proceedings to be initiated, the solicitor must complete a statutory declaration, evidencing that the solicitor has performed his or her obligations under this section to provide information on the benefits and advantages of mediation, rather than litigating.

What is the Mediation Council?

An exciting new edition to the Mediation Act is the establishment of the Mediation Council of Ireland. The Council will be comprised of at least 11 members, and of those, 5 members shall be representative of bodies promoting mediation services or representing the interests of mediators, and the remaining 6 members shall represent the public interest and be persons who are independent of the interests of mediators. The Council will promote awareness of mediation and will oversee the development of standards in the profession, and will maintain a register of all mediators practicing in the State.


This area has been in need of legislation for years, and has been put back time and again due to more urgent legislative initiatives. The Act is likely to increase the number of mediations and there will be teething problems along the way, not least of which will be the coming together of the diverse range of bodies involved in mediation in Ireland, to enable the adoption of a Code of Practice, and the establishment of the self-financing Mediation Council and a national register of mediators. However, this Act is finally the much-needed fertile ground in which the profession of mediation can thrive and, in turn, effectively serve the needs of people in Ireland who find themselves in conflict.

[Dr O’Shea is an award winning former Irish Research Council scholar and mediator, who was awarded a Ph.D. in 2014 for her doctoral research on Judicial Separation and Divorce in the Circuit Court, Ireland, which included an international analysis of the delivery of family mediation. She is a Partner in Arc Mediation, and the Principal investigator for Waterford Institute of Technology’s Family Mediation Project which is trialling a family mediation process she developed, informed by global innovations. Dr O’ Shea and project Co-ordinator Dr Sinead Conneely were invited by the Department of Justice as “relevant stakeholders” to make submissions on the draft Mediation Act 2017. The Family Mediation Project will be launched in Dublin in early 2018.]

10th, 17th & 24th JAN First Aid Responder Training (2.5 Days)

23rd – 23th JAN IOSH Managing Safely Training

30th JAN VDU Assessors Training

8th FEB Risk Assessment Training

15th FEB 1 Day Essential Employee H&S Training

22nd FEB Design Risk Assessment Training – affiliated with Engineers Ireland

23rd FEB PSDP Training – affiliated with Engineers Ireland

Why choose LCE Training Academy for your Health and Safety Training?           

  • *5% discount on any of our training courses for Waterford Chamber Members (*only one discount applied at any one time)
  • We are an ETB approved Training Centre so you know you are in a one of the best venues in the South East.
  • All our trainers are qualified, competent and have a vast amount of experience in their particular area of expertise.
  • LCE training courses provide attendees with the knowledge and capabilities to become more compliant within your organisation, promote efficiency and reach the highest standards in health and safety.
  • LCE Training courses are delivered in a professional, yet informal environment whilst adhering to the recommendations of the Health and Safety Authority (HSA).


If your particular area of concern is not listed above, please contact us on 051 364344, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or check out our website


Home Instead ChristmascareThe Christmas period gives us the opportunity to spend more time with our family and friends.  Home Instead Senior Care is advising over the holiday season to keep an eye out for tell tale signs that our elderly parents or relatives may need more help.

Danette Connolly, Director of Care at Home Instead Senior Care, Waterford said “Over the holiday season we tend to spend more time with our parents, grandparents or senior relatives so it is a good opportunity to make sure that are looking after themselves properly, have sufficient food and heat and are safe in their homes.”

The warning signs that indicate an ageing parent or relative may need more help at home include:

  • Do they seem to be eating well or is food spoiling in the fridge?
  • Have they stopped doing daily grooming rituals like taking a shower or fixing their hair?
  • Are they taking the right medications in the right doses at the right times?
  • Does their car have new scratches or dents?
  • Is mail or newspapers piling up without being read?
  • Are they using furniture, towel bars or shower curtains to pull themselves up to stand?

As you go home again over the festive period be aware of the things that may be changing for your senior relatives.  Be ready to spot the signs, have those tough conversations and help them get the support they need to remain happy and safe in their own home as long as possible.

Home Instead Senior Care provides services to seniors in their own homes and is approved by the HSE. Its caregivers help clients maintain their independence by assisting them with activities of daily living such as meal preparation, laundry, shopping, light housekeeping, driving and incidental transportation.

To find out more about Home Instead Senior Care Waterford call 051 333966 or 058 75298 or visit

UPMC Whitfield Joint CommissionFor the fourth time since 2008, UPMC Whitfield Cancer Centre in Waterford has successfully achieved accreditation from the Joint Commission International (JCI). This recognition is based on an extensive review of the centre’s patient safety and quality standards and processes.

The JCI is the recognised leader in international health care accreditation and is considered the gold standard in global health care. Its accreditation process focuses on determining whether a health care facility has the right systems and processes in place to support high-quality and safe patient care, and has the culture and capacity to continuously improve care. JCI’s surveyors examine crucial issues such as patient and family education, access to care and medication management. The process requires hospitals to demonstrate a track record of standards compliance and relies on candid interviews with patients, nurses and physicians about care practices.

“The success of this, our fourth, accreditation survey reflects the ongoing efforts of the whole Cancer Centre team and their dedication to continuing to provide a quality service to all cancer patients in the southeast region,” said Catriona McDonald, director of operations.

“Demonstrating compliance with JCI standards serves as validation of an organization’s commitment to an internationally recognized, time-tested and comprehensive level of quality,” explained Cheryl Brill, UPMC’s senior vice president of international clinical operations and quality. “This outstanding result is a testament to the UPMC Whitfield Cancer Centre staff and to their commitment to excellence in the treatment of patients.”

Since 2006, UPMC Whitfield Cancer Centre has offered the most advanced radiation therapy, including intensity-modulated radiation therapy and image-guided radiation therapy, to residents of the southeast region of Ireland. One of only four ambulatory care centres to be JCI-accredited in Ireland, the centre is committed to delivering the highest standard of radiation therapy and supportive care for patients with all types of cancer.

Ardkeen QFS Hamper

Make a lasting impression with our expertly curated gift hampers, say thank you to loyal clients or reward colleagues with the world’s best selection of Irish artisan food, tailored to suit every taste and budget.

Nationwide delivery just €5 during November & December.

View the full range on or contact Christine at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 051 874620 to discuss your requirements.


Season’s Greetings!

Christmas is just about here and at LCE we have got the party started!

We also know that work (in the run up to the holidays) still needs to be done ☹. SO…we have decorated the LCE Training Academy and Room Hire  LCE style to bring the festive cheer to LCE and our Clients!  

We are so excited and have put up the Christmas decorations so everyone can enjoy the cliché comforts that reminds us of such a magical time of year (while they work...)! We have also revamped some of the extras we have here at LCE to be more festive! We have Christmas cake, candy canes, Christmas jingles and a lot of fairy lights among many other additions.

Don’t worry though - no mistletoe will be put up…yet!

So, come to LCE for your ROOM HIRE, end of year MEETINGS and TRAINING COURSES or even just to pop in and see us to be part of our festive cheer. Business will be as normal, just with a bit more pep in our step!!!! (and for all you Bah humbugs! We will have humbug sweets at the ready!)

Give us a bell on 051 364344 or you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your festive fancies and avail of a 5% discount on room hire for all WATERFORD CHAMBER members between now and the New Year.

LCE would also like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and wonderful New Year!

Thank you to those of you of who continue to choose us as your Health and Safety Consultants, and to those who don’t we would be delighted to talk to any new customers in 2018

Athenaeum 15 Years

It was December 2003 that we celebrated our opening, this week we celebrate our 14th Anniversary!

It has been quite a roller coaster, there have been many challenging times along the way and many opportunities to create happy memories, all in all it's been fun.

We are so grateful to all our customers who have supported us over the years. You never need a reason to stop by, but if you're looking for one, come along this Saturday, 16th December 2017 for dinner and help us celebrate 14 years in business, á la carte menu available all evening in Zaks Restaurant, to book your table call 051 833999. 

On behalf of the entire Athenaeum House Hotel Team, we would like to thank each person who has been a part of our special journey during the last 14 years.

Efitz Marketing logo

Efitz Marketing is a full-service marketing agency based in Waterford. Founded and managed by Evelyn Fitzmaurice (MBS), this marketing firm provides a wide range of services which include Consultations, Marketing Strategy, Digital Marketing, Direct Marketing, Branding, Public Relations, and Event Management. We integrate all marketing tactics to generate the optimum plan for your business.

As a one-stop shop, we provide a convenient service to all SME clients in the South-East. Our personalised service and bespoke solutions coupled with engaging native content and delivered tangible results, give businesses an edge.

Efitz Marketing has experience in a wide range of sectors such as finance, property, tourism, auto, food & drink, retail and recruitment. Having experienced various markets first hand over eighteen years, we apply this experience and expertise to benefit your business.

Our business model of continual learning and growth ensures that we provide the best services to our clients. Founder Evelyn Fitzmaurice has a Diploma in Digital Marketing (Distinction), a Masters of Business Studies in Marketing (1.1) and a Degree in Economics and Finance. Evelyn also attends regular events and training seminars and online courses to stay current in marketing affairs. We strive to be best in class for all our service offerings. 

Efitz Marketing is an upbeat, honest agency with a hands-on approach to business. Not only great to deal with, we offer great value by recommending packages to suit your business requirements. If you would like to work with a passionate marketing agency to achieve your business objectives, get in touch to see how we can help promote your business best. Your business is our passion.

Efitz Marketing launches a dynamic new website highlighting its services in the month. Contact us to see how we can help your business.


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