Alternative Dispute Resolution

A significant number of members of the Law Library are accredited mediators, and all barristers can act as arbitrators. Our members regularly accept instructions to advise on the appropriateness of alternative dispute resolution, to represent parties at arbitrations or mediations, or to act as an independent, appointed arbitrator or mediators.  They offer a wide range of experience in many areas, including:

  • Admiralty & Maritime Disputes
  • Commercial Disputes
  • Contractual Disputes
  • Construction Disputes
  • Employment Disputes
  • Energy Disputes
  • Family Law Disputes
  • Insurance/Reinsurance Disputes
  • Intellectual Property Disputes
  • Landlord and Tenant/Property Disputes
  • Product Liability Disputes
  • Small Claims
  • Sports Disputes
  • Telecommunications Disputes

There are two types of alternative dispute resolution, mediation and arbitration. Trained barristers can act as mediators or arbitrators. They can also represent parties in each as well. There are important differences between the two systems.


  • Both parties involved in the dispute agree to go to an arbitrator to resolve issues.
  • The decision of the arbitrator is legally binding and the process is governed by law (Arbitration Act 2010).
  • You can represent yourself but you may benefit from legal representation if a dispute is taken to an arbitrator.
  • Some contracts will have clauses in them directing the parties to arbitration in advance of issuing proceedings.
  • Can be online, hybrid or in-person


  • Both parties involved in the dispute agree to use a neutral third party to help solve the dispute.
  • The terms of the agreement are decided between the parties with the help of the mediator.
  • Generally, decisions made in mediation are not legally binding but they can be made so if both parties agree to it. 
  • Applies to a wide range of contexts
  • Can be online, hybrid or in-person

What Arbitration offers:

Arbitration is a dispute resolution process that can have many advantages over litigation or other dispute resolution methods in appropriate cases. The arbitrator is typically chosen by the parties or nominated by an independent third-party nominating body.

Arbitrators will usually have specialist knowledge of the matter/s in dispute. The parties can decide on the location and timing of the hearing to facilitate the parties and any witnesses. The process is often less formal than court.

The arbitral award is binding, enforceable and cannot be appealed. Expedition results in cost savings. Arbitral awards are private and do not become binding precedents.

What Mediation offers:

Mediation is a flexible process conducted confidentially in which a third party assists the parties to a dispute in working towards a negotiated settlement of the dispute with the parties having ultimate control of the decision to settle and the terms of the settlement.

Mediation is becoming increasingly popular in Ireland. For example, since the establishment of the Commercial Court. Order 63A, Rule 6(1)(xiii) provides that the Commercial Court Judge may direct that a case be adjourned to allow for the matter to be referred to mediation.

In addition, a significant number of other courts have practice directions requiring the use of mediation.

Looking for Neutral Territory?

Dublin Dispute Resolution Centre

The DDRC is a purpose built centre which operates as a ‘one stop shop’ for dispute resolution from the time initial contact is made, to the conclusion of the process. 

The Centre caters for arbitrations, mediations, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution, as well as ancillary activities such as meetings. 

Looking for an impartial arbitrator or mediator?

The Bar of Ireland provides an Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution Appointment Service.

This scheme provides a fast and free service whereby the parties to a dispute can if they agree, ask the Chair of the Council of The Bar of Ireland to appoint a Barrister to act as Arbitrator or Mediator to the dispute.

In selecting the arbitrator or mediator, the Chair of the Council of The Bar of Ireland will have regard to the nature of the dispute, its value and its complexity. The Chair will make the appointment within five working days of the date of acknowledgement of the request for appointment.

A request for an appointment should include the following information:

  1. The name in full, description, address and other contact details of each of the parties;

  2. A description of the nature and circumstances of the dispute giving rise to the claim and of the basis upon which the claim is made;

  3. A statement of the relief sought, together with the amounts of any quantified claims and, to the extent possible, an estimate of the monetary value of any other claims;

  4. Any relevant agreements and, in particular, the dispute resolution clause in the agreement(s);

  5. All relevant particulars and any observations or proposals as to the place of the arbitration, the applicable rules of law and the language of the arbitration