Fine Gael Cork East TD and Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality, David Stanton, has today (Thursday) welcomed the publication of the general scheme for the Mediation Bill, which he said will make resolving disputes cheaper and less stressful.

“Taking a case to court in a bid to resolve a dispute can be expensive, confusing, drawn out and stressful. People often feel intimidated and daunted by the legal process, and it may not always be the most appropriate way to settle a conflict.

“The Government is aiming to make mediation the first port of call for individuals or companies who need to resolve a dispute. It will provide an efficient alternative to court proceedings, which will help to speed up the process, cut costs and reduce the stress and anxiety associated with going to court.

“Under the provisions of the new draft Bill, solicitors and barristers will have to inform their clients about mediation services on offer. The courts will also be able to invite people to consider mediation, rather than progressing down the traditional legal route.

“I welcome the fact that the draft Bill is due to come before the Oireachtas Justice Committee and I look forward to receiving submissions on its contents from individuals and organisations. This is the fourth draft Justice Bill to be considered by the Committee; we have already examined the National Vetting Bureau Bill, the Criminal Justice (Withholding Information on Crimes Against Children and Vulnerable Adults) Bill and the Mental Capacity Bill.

“The thorough examination of draft Bills by Oireachtas Committees is a new way of doing business. Our engagement feeds into the formulation of the final Bill, and it allows both Oireachtas members and civil society to have a real input into the legislative process.

“I look forward to considering the draft Mediation Bill with my Committee colleagues in the coming weeks.”