Mediation Bill will change ‘psyche’, says Irish family law mediator

Mary Cashin
Mary Cashin

Legislation to promote mediation will be “very important” in changing mediation in “the psyche of people”, Irish solicitor and family law mediator Mary Cashin has said.

Ms Cashin of Cashin and Associates Solicitors told The Clare Champion that non-commercial mediation has become “much more important” in recent years and could save families thousands of euro and years of stress.

The Mediation Bill is currently being drafted by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, but legal professionals are sceptical that it will become law before the general election.

The bill would make it mandatory for solicitors and barristers to suggest mediation to parties in a dispute before going to court, and would require those parties to confirm in court that they had considered the alternative.

However, Ms Cashin said it was already a good idea for solicitors to promote mediation to their clients.

She said: “I believe, and I hope, legal people are saying to their clients before they get stuck into court proceedings: ‘This is an alternative way of dealing with your dispute. Will you consider it, try it; if it works, the benefits are fantastic. If it doesn’t work you have nothing to lose.’”

Ms Cashin added: “It’s very cost effective. It allows the parties to take control and they make the decision that they can live with.

“You could have a situation where a couple are in court for two years fighting over everything. Then there’s a decision neither of them likes. It’ll manifest itself in the family.

“I think a lot of us have seen, especially in family law, a couple go into court. If you fight a case, neither side is going to be happy because a judge, a third party, decides what the outcome is.”

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