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17 January 2017

Local Mediation Service Receives Accreditation

One of Northern Ireland’s leading mediation providers has announced that it has received accreditation from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute for consumer mediation.

The Dispute Resolution Service (DRS), which is administered by the Law Society of Northern Ireland, is the only mediation provider based in Northern Ireland offering accredited mediation services and mediators.

The announcement of accreditation of the DRS was made at an event at the Northern Ireland Assembly buildings attended by MLA’s and representatives from business, community, voluntary and legal sectors.

Those attending the event were provided with an overview of the Dispute Resolution Service and told of the growing importance of mediation by the Courts and the Judiciary who advocate its use as a quicker and more cost effective way of resolving business and consumer disputes without having to go to Court.

The event also highlighted an important development which will now affect local businesses in Northern Ireland.

The European Consumer Mediation Directive, which is now in force, requires that all businesses throughout Northern Ireland must advise consumers in their terms and conditions if they offer mediation as a means to resolve any potential dispute and what mediation provider they suggest using.

Speaking at the mediation event, Mr Brian Speers, Chairman of the Dispute Resolution Service said;

“It is important that consumers and businesses throughout Northern Ireland are aware of what mediation is, understand how it can help them and that it is accessible through the accredited Dispute Resolution Service.

For local consumers it is provides an alternative way of attempting to resolve their dispute which is free and often quicker.

For local businesses they are now required by the European Consumer Mediation Directive to consider mediation with regards to consumer disputes.

The cost to local businesses is minimal and the potential benefits in terms of overall cost savings underscores the effectiveness of mediation as a consumer dispute solution.

We are delighted that the Dispute Resolution Service is the only mediation provider based in Northern Ireland to be fully accredited by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute for consumer mediation.

We would encourage consumers and local businesses to find out more about how mediation can help them by contacting the DRS and visiting www.mediatorsni.com”.

- ENDS –

Notes to editors:

What is the Dispute Resolution Service (DRS)?

The Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) was set up to provide a mediation service to assist with resolving disputes which would avoid the time, expense and stress associated with going to court.

Mediation has now become well established as an effective means of resolving disputes and courts and advisers will now encourage parties to explore resolution of the dispute before coming to court.

The DRS is managed by a management Board comprising experienced Solicitors and Barristers.

How does it operate?

The DRS operates through a Panel of Solicitors and Barristers who are trained in mediation law and practice and who have learned mediation skills and who confirm they are eligible to act as mediators on behalf of the parties to disputes. All members of the DRS Panel must adhere to the DRS Code of Conduct and to the EU Code of Conduct for Mediators. Parties or their advisers can select a mediator from the panel or, if preferred, a mediator can be nominated by the DRS administrator.

What is mediation?

A mediator is a neutral person who assists parties and their advisers to a resolution of the dispute. The mediator can chair joint sessions and meet with parties in private and find out underlying reasons for the dispute and identify interests of the parties in addition to their rights. A mediator will not make a decision or make any findings and the mediation process is confidential and without prejudice.

Is mediation effective?

Research shows that recourse to mediation has a high success rate; it is faster and can save legal costs and it can result in preserving the business relationships between the parties for the future.

When can you use mediation?

Mediation can be attempted at any stage of a dispute and the courts are likely to permit adjournments to litigation if there is a chance that mediation could resolve the dispute. If the mediation fails, the parties are free to proceed with litigation without prejudice to their legal rights. Most types of dispute can go to mediation provided the parties make a genuine attempt to mediate. Some cases where mediation has been regularly used include disputes involving family companies, partnerships, professional negligence, inheritance, employment, family and construction.

For more information and a list of mediators please go to:

www.mediatorsni.com

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