Vision 2021- Alternative Dispute Resolution and Competitiveness

Feb 24, 2016

According to the World Bank, in international terms Ireland remains an expensive location in which to enforce a business contract, and is the 8th most expensive in the OECD32. The World Bank also highlights that it takes a significant length of time (650 days) to enforce a contract in Ireland, compared with an OECD average of 538 days. (This is the 7th longest within the OECD32). This ranking has been flagged by the National Competitiveness Council as seriously hindering our ability to compete and be the “best small country in the world in which to do business.”

One way of addressing this obstacle to competitiveness would be for the State to facilitate the increased use of alternative dispute resolution in commercial or contractual disputes. ADR mechanisms, like mediation and arbitration in commercial disputes, save businesses time, money, and help to maintain constructive business relationships.

While ADR is well established as a means of dispute resolution in certain sectors of industry, for example construction and in high value disputes at the level of the Commercial Court, it is still not the norm for Irish SMEs. It is for this reason that Chambers Ireland, in partnership with the Law Society, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Mediators’ Institute of Ireland and the Bar Council, launched a Business and Commercial Mediation service with the objective of promoting the use of mediation as a cost and resource efficient way for businesses to resolve commercial disputes. The scheme is also supported by the Courts Service of Ireland. It is our goal that through this service, businesses will more frequently think to use ADR mechanisms to resolve disputes rather than the more traditional route of litigation.

What We Recommend:

  • We believe that Government can do a lot more to help to encourage the use of mediation and other forms of ADR in a number of ways. For example, ADR should be promoted by State agencies as one of the primary means of dispute resolution in commercial disputes in Ireland.
  • Additionally, all State contracts should by default incorporate appropriate ADR clauses. All state agencies and bodies must commit to utilising ADR in the first instance in the event of a dispute arising.
  • The National Competiveness Council has also recommended that the next Government must also commit to more active management of cases by courts and other governance reforms. For example, the Legal Cost Working Group has recommended that court rules should include a specific order facilitating supervision by the court of the pace of litigation; this should contain measures to penalise unnecessary delays.
  • Last of all there must be a commitment from the next Government to enact the Mediation Bill as soon as is practicable.

To learn more about what we believe Government should do to increase competitiveness of Irish business, read our manifesto here.

To learn more about how ADR and mediation can help your business, click here

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