CIArb Annual Dinner. Chairman’s address

‘Alternative Dispute Resolution has reached new heights in Ireland in the last year with the enactment of the Arbitration Act 2010 and with the recent publication of the Law Reform Commission proposals on ADR.’ Arbitration Institute Chairman  

Terence O’Keeffe Chairman of the Irish branch of the worldwide dispute resolution body the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators told the Irish branch annual dinner last night (Friday 19th)  that the 2010 Arbitration Act ‘paved the way for Ireland to promote itself as a venue for International Arbitration.

The Act provides that the High Court is the only court which can deal with any matters arising under the legislation and there is no appeal from it to any other court. 

The Act provides for a Judge of the High Court to deal with all arbitral matters that come before and the Appointed judge is His Honour Mr. Justice Peter Kelly. 

Judge Kelly has already handed down a judgement very recently on a matter relating to arbitration and has ruled that a body cannot nominate an arbitrator in which one of its one members is a party (in that case the CIF). 

As a result of that ruling it is more important than ever to select a body such as the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators as the body named in arbitration clauses as default appointing body. CIArb has members from all professions amongst our ranks who are well qualified to arbitrate a wide range of disputes and as we are an independent  body the arbitration clause should satisfy the European directive. 

A further boost to Alternative Dispute Resolution in Ireland was received when the Law Reform Commission published it’s Report on ADR earlier this week. At the launch the Chief Justice stated that the use of ADR as an alternative to litigation must be actively promoted by the State. 

Amongst the reports recommendations are: 

Legislation should be enacted which defines clearly what is meant by Conciliation and Mediation.

There should be a statutory code of practice for Con and Med to include training requirements

Mediation or conciliation can be initiated either (a) independently of court proceedings or (b) where suggested by the court after Court proceedings have commenced.

 We now have court rules which provide for Mediation in both the High and Circuit Courts so all of the above encourages the use of ADR as a mechanism by which to resolve our disputes in as non contentious, expeditious and inexpensive manner as possible. 

The role of the CIArb Irish branch is provide the education and training of those wishing to act as dispute resolvers and to appoint them to act where required across the entire range of disputes as arbitrators, mediators or other specialist third party neutrals. 

We are entering a new era in dispute resolution, Mr O’Keeffe concluded