Mediation FAQ: How to solve a dispute

April 5, 2023

What is mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary process where parties in a dispute mutually agree to meet with a professional, impartial mediator. The mediator assists parties in finding ways to resolve a dispute. This helps them to work together towards an agreed solution.

What is the role of the mediator?

The main role of a mediator is to be impartial, treat all parties fairly and manage the mediation process. They facilitate parties to communicate effectively and consider the issues with a view of parties mutually agreeing an outcome. The Mediation Act 2017 governs all of our mediators. Additionally, the Mediators Institute of Irelands (MII) Code of Ethics and Practice binds our mediators.

Why choose mediation?

There is growth in the use of mediation services to resolve disputes, rather than going to court or arbitration. In court or arbitration, a third party decides the outcome based upon a presentation of the facts and law.

Benefits include:

  • Control: You have control over how you wish to resolve your dispute. A third party does not make any decisions.
  • Flexibility: You have more flexibility compared to court, which operates under strict rules.
  • Voluntary Process: It is a voluntary process. At any stage you, or indeed the mediator, can decide the session(s) are not productive and stop the process.
  • Confidential: Parties, including the mediator, agree not to disclose information arising in the session(s). Limits to confidentiality arise when required by law under section 10(2) of the Mediation Act 2017.
  • Speed: It can take a matter of hours or days to resolve a dispute, as opposed to months or even years.
  • Relationship Building: It helps parties to better understand each other. You can find avenues for resolution that you are both happy with.
  • Options:  If it fails, you can still explore other avenues to resolve your dispute such as the court process.
  • Cost: It is free.

What should I expect from a session?

You will need to be willing to work to resolve issues and to work through your difficulties. This means you should expect to discuss your position and try to listen to the other party too. Each party has an opportunity to voice concerns and to speak without interruption.

CLM uses a model of co-mediation. This involved two mediators in the mediation process. Mediation begins with the mediators meeting both parties separately. The mediators explain what mediation is, allowing each party time to talk about their issue(s) that need to be addressed. They also discuss what they would like to achieve through mediation. Once both parties agree to proceed, a further meeting is arranged and the process begins. At this point, parties will sign an agreement to mediate, which explains the ground rules for parties involved. Additionally, it outlines how and when the mediation process will be conducted.

Does the mediator decide for us?

The mediator does not decide for you. Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process where the mediator acts impartially to help the parties come to a resolution.  The mediator’s role is not to determine facts, make a judgement of law or otherwise impose their solution. Mediators work in a “non-directive” manner, facilitating better communication and understanding between the parties. They also help them explore possible solutions to their dispute. Additionally, they assist the parties in drawing-up a written agreement that states the terms and conditions upon which they have decided to resolve their dispute.

How long will the process take?

Often, mediation can be completed in a single or even two sessions. However, it all depends on the type of dispute, its complexity and the preparedness of the parties to seek to resolve their differences in a non-adversarial setting. Some disputes are mediated in a few hours, while others, like family disputes, often require several, sometimes shorter sessions spread out over a number of weeks. The most one can expect would be six sessions with the mediator to thoroughly resolve all issues.

What if we can’t agree?

Generally speaking, up to 80% of all cases submitted to mediation do settle. However, there are some that do not. If you fail to reach a conclusion, you still have the right to resort to court or arbitration if those avenues are available to you.

What is an interim mediation settlement?

Both parties prepare and agree to an interim mediation settlement when going through the mediation process. This interim mediation settlement is subject to change, and therefore, is not enforceable at this point.  Near the end of the mediation process, a final mediation settlement is drawn up.

What is a mediation settlement?

During the mediation process, the mediator works with the parties to help them develop a mediation settlement agreeable to them. There is significant emphasis on how parties will interact in the future if they have an ongoing relationship.

What happens after the settlement is drawn up?

After the settlement process, there are further steps in the mediation process. The mediator will ensure that the parties are aware of their rights to each obtain independent advice (including legal advice) prior to signing any mediation settlement.

What is the status of the settlement in law?

Only the parties to the mediation can decide if a mediation settlement has been reached between them and whether this is to be enforceable. Unless the parties agree that the mediation settlement has no legal force until it is included into a formal legal agreement or contract to be signed by the parties, it will act as a contract between parties, pursuant to Section 11 (2) of the 2017 Mediation Act 2017.

Once a mediation settlement is agreed either party can apply to the court to have the mediation settlement enforced. The court will do so unless there are any concerns that the mediation settlement does not comply with section 11(a)(b) of the Mediation Act 2017.

Is there any charge or cost?

CLM provides a free mediation service to the community. We offer all clients an opportunity to make a voluntary donation to the service when their mediation sessions. Each party in a mediation case is required to pay a ten euro refundable deposit unless there are exceptional circumstances for not doing so. This deposit is refunded to the party at the end of their case, unless they have cancelled their mediation session three times or has not given at least 24 hours’ notice to a single cancellation.

I am in a dispute with another party. How do I get in contact with your Mediation Service?

Contact our Mediation Service to find out further information. Our offices are in Northside Civic Centre, Bunratty Road, Coolock, Dublin 17. You can also call us on 01 8477804 or send an email to

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