Ormond Building, 18th October 2011

Andy Rogers, CEDR: Good evening ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for coming to this, the launch of CEDR Ireland, here at our home in Dublin, the Ormond Meeting Rooms.

We will shortly hear from our Chief Executive, Karl Mackie, but before we do that, I just wanted to say a quick thank you to Ormond Meeting Rooms for being our home here and also to PCR who are providing the stenography services tonight. But first I will hand over to our guest of honour Mr Justice Peter Kelly.

Mr Justice Kelly: Thank you very much for inviting me to speak here this evening.

On the 12th January next the Commercial List of the High Court will celebrate its 8th birthday and when the rules of court, which introduced and set up the Commercial List, came into force in early 2004, they introduced a concept which was novel, namely the ability of the commercial judge to direct parties, who were involved in commercial litigation, to consider alternative methods of resolving their difficulties.

That became very popular within a relatively short period of time, despite its novelty. Initially people were skeptical, perhaps even suspicious of the process, but after a very short time they became very much enamoured of it.

Why was that? Well because they realised, as did the litigants that mediation, which proved to be the most popular form of alternative dispute resolution, provided a speedy, cost effective, and private way of resolving disputes.

Not merely that, but the parties who involved themselves in mediation controlled the process, unlike either arbitration or litigation itself.

Now mediation was not unknown to Irish lawyers, prior to 2004, in fact in the family law legislation of 1996 there is express provision for mediation to take place in the context of divorce and matrimonial proceedings, but it was certainly new to commercial litigation and what was even more new, was the ability of the court to require parties to consider it.

I have become a strong supporter of mediation, and I have become a convert, because I have seen how effective it is as a way of resolving disputes.

I have seen what appeared to be the most intractable of disputes being resolved, very effectively.

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The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) is an independent, non-profit organisation with a mission to cut the cost of conflict and create choice and capability in dispute prevention and resolution. www.cedr.com