Cork professionals discuss growing popularity of alternative dispute resolution at annual forum

Cork professionals discuss growing popularity of alternative dispute resolution at annual forum

Pictured (l-r): Keith Kelliher, CIArb chair; Lorraine O'Sullivan SC; Eamon Harrington of Comyn Kelleher Tobin; and Ms Justice Marie Baker of the Court of Appeal

Around 70 professionals from the legal, engineering, construction and insurance industries gathered in Cork this week to discuss alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and its growing popularity in Ireland.

The annual Cork forum, organised by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) and sponsored by Comyn Kelleher Tobin, heard from Lorraine O’Sullivan SC and Eamon Harrington, partner and head of litigation at Comyn Kelleher Tobin.

Ms Justice Marie Baker, a Cork native and presiding judge of the Court of Appeal, chaired the event and spoke briefly on the new Mediation Act 2017, which came into force last year, and the increased awareness and willingness of the judiciary to look to ADR in appropriate circumstances.

Ms O’Sullivan explored her experience acting as both an arbitrator and trained mediator, referencing the Act and the increased obligations to consider mediation for dispute resolution.

Mr Harrington, also a qualified arbitrator and mediator, gave a presentation on the ‘Versatility of ADR’, recognising 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.

Speaking after the event, Keith Kelliher, chair of CIArb Ireland, 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 ADR incorporated in Statute, with the introduction of the Arbitration Act 2010, the Construction Contracts Act 2013 and the Mediation Act 2017.

“The event described and outlined these and other forms of dispute resolution outside of the litigation process. We were delighted to have both Lorraine O’Sullivan SC and Eamon Harrington from CKT as speakers under the watchful eye of our chair for the evening, the Hon Ms Justice Marie Baker.

“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. The forum was a testament to the desire to achieve this goal and to help in advancing the existence of and benefits of ADR.”

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