Legal voices in Cork endorse 'alternative dispute resolution'

Keith Kelliher, Chair CIArb, Lorraine O Sullivan, Senior Counsel, Eamon Harrington, Comyn Kelleher Tobin and The Hon. Ms. Justice Marie Baker- Judge of the Court of Appeal at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Ireland forum held in the Clayton Hotel, Lapps Quay, Cork. Photo: Darragh Kane

While litigation will remain the dominant mechanism in resolving disputes, there are now several alternative mechanisms such as arbitration, mediation and conciliation to consider.

That was one of the takeaways from a Cork event, organised by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and sponsored by Comyn Kelleher Tobin, exploring so-called “alternative dispute resolution” this week.

Almost 70 legal, engineering, construction and the insurance industry figures gathered at the Clayton Hotel Cork to hear from speakers such as senior counsel Lorraine O' Sullivan and head of litigation at Comyn Kelleher Tobin, Eamon Harrington.

Chair of the event and Cork native, Ms Justice Marie Baker, who is a presiding judge of the Court of Appeal, acknowledged the new Mediation Act 2017 which came into force last year and the increased awareness and willingness by the judiciary to look to alternative dispute resolution in appropriate circumstances.

Mr Harrington spoke of the “versatility of alternative dispute resolution”, saying that while litigation shall always remain the dominant mechanism in resolving disputes, that there are now several alternative mechanisms, such as arbitration, mediation and conciliation, which are becoming increasingly popular, given the distinct advantages of privacy and efficiency.

Chair of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) Ireland, Keith Kelliher said: “Alternative dispute resolution has undergone a transformation in Ireland over the last decade. Since 2010 we have seen great strides in getting all aspects of it incorporated in statute, with the introduction of the Arbitration Act 2010, the Construction Contracts Act 2013 and the Mediation Act 2017.

“As the world leading professional body for dispute avoidance and dispute management, the CIArb aims to assist individuals and organisations in avoiding, managing and resolving conflict and ensuring that the highest standards of training and education in the field is available to those who wish to assist parties in achieving this goal.”

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