Civil and public service managers are now obliged to consider the use of mediation when dealing with most workplace and contract disputes.
A recent circular from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) sets out the policy. It applies to all civil service departments and offices, which are also required to bring it to the attention of bodies operating under their aegis.
The circular sets out the factors to be considered when deciding what disputes are best resolved through mediation, which it says “must” be considered before recourse to third party bodies like the courts, arbitration or adjudication.
It points out that Government policy “is to promote mediation as a viable, effective and efficient alternative to court proceedings.” But it says managers have not used the already-established ‘alternative dispute resolution mechanism’ as much as they could.
The circular also sets out a number of exclusions from the requirement to consider mediation, and says procedures under existing industrial relations fora are not covered by the policy.
The 2017 Mediation Act also obliges lawyers to advise clients to consider using mediation to resolve disputes.
Read the DPER circular HERE