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Il 2 ottobre 2017 l’Irlanda ha adottato la nuova legge sulla mediazione (Mediation Act 2017[1]).

Il Ministro della Giustizia e della Eguaglianza può provvedere con la normativa di dettaglio[2] e la data di entrata in vigore parziale o totale della legge dipende comunque dal Guardasigilli [3].

L’obiettivo fondamentale della legge è quello di promuovere la mediazione come un’alternativa valida, efficace ed efficace ai procedimenti giudiziari, riducendo così i costi legali, accelerando la risoluzione delle controversie e riducendo lo stress e l’acrimonia che spesso accompagna le procedure giudiziarie[4].

Già la presentazione mi pare assai rilevante perché rientra nel concetto di giustizia partecipativa che va per la maggiore in questi tempi.

La più rilevanti prescrizioni della legge sono comunque precisate in sintesi dalla Information Note on Mediation Act 2017 a cui rimando il lettore (il contenuto è in nota)[5].

In dettaglio puntualizzo qui gli aspetti che “a caldo” mi paiono più rilevanti.

1) la partecipazione alla mediazione è volontaria in tutti i casi (section 6 subsection 2)[6];

2) il mediatore non può fare proposte a meno che le parti non glielo chiedano congiuntamente; ma anche nel caso di richiesta congiunta spetta alle parti accettare o meno la proposta (section 8 subsection 3 e 4)[7];

3) le spese e le indennità della mediazione non dipendono dall’esito della mediazione (section 6 subsection 10)[8];

4) l’accordo per mediare deve contenere l’elencazione dei diritti per cui le parti possono sempre chiedere assistenza legale (section 7 par. e)[9];

5) le parti possono essere accompagnate/assistite da chiunque (anche da un avvocato) o comunque hanno il diritto di ottenere una consulenza legale indipendente; (section 6 par. b e c)[10];

6) il mediatore può ritirarsi dalla mediazione (e ricominciarla dopo essersi ritirato) comunicando per iscritto alle parti le ragioni generali del ritiro e restituendo parte proporzionale al lavoro svolto di quanto ricevuto (section 6)[11];

7) se l’avvocato non reca in giudizio evidenza scritta di aver informato, come richiede la legge, le parti  sulla mediazione (e anche sul fatto che una mediazione può non essere adatta ad una data controversia) il procedimento viene aggiornato dal Tribunale dando il tempo opportuno all’avvocato per provvedere conformemente (salvo eccezioni di legge) (section 14-15)[12];

8) l’accordo può essere esecutivo o meno a seconda della volontà delle parti (section 11)[13];

9) Il tribunale può invitare alla mediazione su richiesta delle parti o sua sponte in base alla natura della controversia (e può tenere alle parti una sessione informativa); se le parti aderiscono all’invito il tribunale emetterà l’ordine più appropriato per facilitare la mediazione o la sua continuazione (section 16)[14]

10) nel caso di mediazione su invito del giudice il mediatore invia alla Corte un report in cui significa le ragioni per cui la mediazione non si è tenuta o nel caso si sia tenuta se c’è stato o meno accordo (anche parziale); tuttavia le parti ricevono tale report 7 giorni prima che il Tribunale (section 17)[15]

11) Le spese di avvio e la indennità devono essere ragionevoli e proporzionate alla importanza e la complessità delle problematiche in gioco e alla quantità di lavoro svolto dal mediatore (section 20)[16];

12) Nel caso di mediazione su invito del Tribunale è lo stesso che determina spese e costi valutando anche qualsiasi irragionevole 1) rifiuto o mancanza a considerare l’uso la mediazione 2) rifiuto o mancanza relativa alla partecipazione in mediazione (section 21);[17]

13) Il Ministro della Giustizia valuterà se adottare o meno uno schema pubblico di primo incontro per la mediazione familiare (section 23[18]).

[1] http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/JELR/Mediation_Act_2017.pdf/Files/Mediation_Act_2017.pdf

[2] Regulations

  1. (1) The Minister may by regulations provide for any matter referred to in this Act as prescribed or to be prescribed.

[3] Short title and commencement

  1. (1) This Act may be cited as the Mediation Act 2017.

(2) This Act shall come into operation on such day or days as the Minister may by order or orders appoint either generally or with reference to any particular purpose or provision and different days may be so appointed for different purposes or different provisions.

[4] The Mediation Act 2017 was enacted on 2 October, 2017.  The Act contains provisions for a comprehensive statutory framework to promote the resolution of disputes through mediation as an alternative to court proceedings. The underlying objective of the Act is to promote mediation as a viable, effective and efficient alternative to court proceedings, thereby reducing legal costs, speeding up the resolution of disputes and reducing the stress and acrimony which often accompanies court proceedings.  http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/JELR/Pages/Mediation_Act_2017

[5] Main provisions of the Act

The Act:

  • introduces an obligation on solicitors and barristers to advise parties to disputes to consider using mediation as a means of resolving them:
  • provides that a court may, on its own initiative or on the initiative of the parties invite the parties to consider mediation as a means of resolving the dispute;
  • contains general principles for the conduct of mediation by qualified mediators;
  • provides that communications between parties during mediation shall be confidential;
  • provides for the possible future establishment of a Mediation Council to oversee development of the sector;
  • provides for the introduction of codes of practice for the conduct of mediation by qualified mediators

[6] (2) Participation in mediation shall be voluntary at all times.

[7] (3) Subject to subsection (4), the outcome of the mediation shall be determined by the mutual agreement of the parties and the mediator shall not make proposals to the parties to resolve the dispute.

(4) The mediator may, at the request of all the parties, make proposals to resolve the dispute, but it shall be for the parties to determine whether to accept such proposals.

[8] (10) The fees and costs of the mediation shall not be contingent on its outcome.

[9] (e) the right of each of the parties to seek legal advice;

[10] (b) be accompanied to the mediation, and assisted by, a person (including a legal

advisor) who is not a party, or

(c) obtain independent legal advice at any time during the mediation

[11] (6) Subject to subsections (7) and (8) and subject to the confidentiality of the mediation, the mediator may withdraw from the mediation at any time during the mediation by notice in writing given to the parties stating the mediator’s general reasons for the withdrawal.

(7) A withdrawal under subsection (6) by the mediator from the mediation shall not of itself prevent the mediator from again becoming the mediator in that mediation.

(8) Where the mediator withdraws from the mediation under subsection (6), the mediator shall return the fees and costs paid in respect of that portion of time during which the mediator was paid to act as the mediator and for which he or she will no longer act as the mediator.

[12] Practising solicitor and mediation

  1. (1) A practising solicitor shall, prior to issuing proceedings on behalf of a client—

(a) advise the client to consider mediation as a means of attempting to resolve the dispute the subject of the proposed proceedings,

(b) provide the client with information in respect of mediation services, including the names and addresses of persons who provide mediation services,

(c) provide the client with information about—

(i) the advantages of resolving the dispute otherwise than by way of the proposed proceedings, and

(ii) the benefits of mediation,

(d) advise the client that mediation is voluntary and may not be an appropriate means of resolving the dispute where the safety of the client and/or their children is at risk, and

(e) inform the client of the matters referred to in subsections (2) and (3) and sections 10 and 11.

(2) If a practising solicitor is acting on behalf of a client who intends to institute proceedings, the originating document by which proceedings are instituted shall be accompanied by a statutory declaration made by the solicitor evidencing (if such be

the case) that the solicitor has performed the obligations imposed on him or her under subsection (1) in relation to the client and the proceedings to which the declaration relates.

(3) If the originating document referred to in subsection (2) is not accompanied by a statutory declaration made in accordance with that subsection, the court concerned shall adjourn the proceedings for such period as it considers reasonable in the circumstances to enable the practising solicitor concerned to comply with subsection

(1) and provide the court with such declaration or, if the solicitor has already complied with subsection (1), provide the court with such declaration.

(4) This section shall not apply to any proceedings, including any application, under—

(a) section 6A, 11 or 11B of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964,

(b) section 2 of the Judicial Separation and Family Law Reform Act 1989, or

(c) section 5 of the Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996.

Practising barrister and mediation

  1. (1) Subsection (2) applies where, under another enactment or instrument made under another enactment, it is lawful for a practising barrister to issue proceedings on behalf of a client who is not represented by a practising solicitor.

(2) Subject to subsections (3) and (4), obligations analogous to those imposed under section 14 on a practising solicitor in relation to a client of the solicitor may be prescribed, subject to such modifications as may be specified in the regulations concerned, to be performed by a practising barrister in relation to a client of the barrister.

(3) In prescribing, under subsection (2), obligations referred to in that subsection to be performed by a practising barrister in relation to a client of the barrister, the Minister shall have regard to any report under section 34(1) of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 to the extent that the report relates to the unification of the solicitors’

profession and the barristers’ profession.

(4) The Minister shall not prescribe, under subsection (2), obligations referred to in that subsection to be performed by a practising barrister in relation to a client of the barrister except after consultation with the Law Society of Ireland and the General Council of the Bar of Ireland.

[13] 11. (1) The parties shall determine—

(a) if and when a mediation settlement has been reached between them, and (b) whether the mediation settlement is to be enforceable between them.

[14] 16. (1) A court may, on the application of a party involved in proceedings, or of its own motion where it considers it appropriate having regard to all the circumstances of the case:

(a) invite the parties to the proceedings to consider mediation as a means of attempting to resolve the dispute the subject of the proceedings;

(b) provide the parties to the proceedings with information about the benefits of mediation to settle the dispute the subject of the proceedings.

(2) Where, following an invitation by the court under subsection (1), the parties decide to engage in mediation, the court may—

(a) adjourn the proceedings,

(b) make an order extending the time for compliance by a party with rules of court or with any order of the court in the proceedings, or

(c) make such other order or give such direction as the court considers necessary to facilitate the effective use of mediation.

[15] Mediator report to court

  1. (1) Where, following an invitation by the court under section 16(1), the parties to the proceedings concerned engage in mediation and subsequently apply to the court to reenter the proceedings, the mediator shall prepare and submit to the court a written report which shall set out—

(a) where the mediation did not take place, a statement of the reasons as to why it did not take place, or

(b) where the mediation took place—

(i) a statement as to whether or not a mediation settlement has been reached between the parties in respect of the dispute the subject of the proceedings,

and

(ii) if a mediation settlement has been reached on all, or some only of the, matters concerning that dispute, a statement of the terms of the mediation settlement.

(2) Except where otherwise agreed or directed by the court, a copy of a report prepared under subsection (1) shall be given to the parties at least 7 days prior to its submission to the court.

[16] Fees and costs

  1. (1) Unless ordered by a court or otherwise agreed between the parties, the parties shall—

(a) pay to the mediator the fees and costs agreed in the agreement to mediate, or

(b) share equally the fees and costs of the mediation.

(2) The fees and costs of a mediation shall be reasonable and proportionate to the importance and complexity of the issues at stake and to the amount of work carried out by the mediator.

[17] Factors to be considered by court in awarding costs

  1. In awarding costs in respect of proceedings referred to in section 16, a court may, where it considers it just, have regard to—

(a) any unreasonable refusal or failure by a party to the proceedings to consider using mediation, and

(b) any unreasonable refusal or failure by a party to the proceedings to attend mediation, following an invitation to do so under section 16(1)

[18] Mediation information sessions in family law and succession proceedings

  1. (1) The Minister may, for the purposes of ensuring that information sessions concerning mediation are available (in this Act referred to as a “mediation information session”), at a reasonable cost and in suitable locations, to parties to relevant proceedings and having had regard to the matters specified in subsection (2)—

(a) prepare and publish a scheme for the delivery of such sessions, or

(b) approve a scheme for the delivery of such sessions prepared by a person other

than the Minister.

(2) A scheme referred to in subsection (1) may include provisions in relation to any of the

following:

(a) the nature and operation of mediation in respect of a relevant dispute;

(b) the role of the mediator in a mediation in respect of a relevant dispute;

(c) the types of mediation settlements available in a mediation in respect of a relevant dispute;

(d) the benefits of mediation over court-based resolutions in respect of a relevant dispute;

(e) the costs of mediation;

(f) a statement that legal advice may be sought by the parties at any time during the mediation.

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