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Appropriate Dispute  Resolution

Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Ireland by Josepha Madigan is a welcome addition to the reference books available to family lawyers. A

lternative dispute resolution has over the past few years become a buzz concept particularly attractive to family law clients as a less expensive and less conflictual way of resolving family law disputes. Josepha takes this concept one step further in highlighting the fact that appropriate dispute resolution methods should stand on their own as effective ways to resolve dispute and should not merely be seen as alternatives to a court action. We live in changing times and the positive intervention of the Minister for Justice in promoting mediation and other alternative options as well as the publication of the Mediation Bill reflect the hope that the adversarial climate will change and clients will take more ownership of their relationship difficulties. In doing this and improving their own communication skills they can use appropriate resolution methods that serve to minimize the conflict and give them a framework to move on in a positive way. 

The author places great emphasis of the nature of conflict: how and why it arises and how in an appropriate dispute resolution context this conflict can be managed to enable the parties to negotiate effective agreements. As lawyers, the psychology of recognizing both the implications of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the emotional turmoil that our clients regularly exhibit, was absent from our legal education. In dealing with our clients’ anxieties such concept definitely played second fiddle to the adversarial nature of winning “at all costs”. This book helps us to identify the importance of recognizing where our clients are ‘at’ and the fact that both parties in the dispute can achieve a resolution while maintaining mutual respect and dignity. 

A further attraction of this book is the interesting contributions from well known family lawyers and mediators who share their experiences of working in ADR and how this approach has benefited their clients. 

This book will provide not just encouragement to family lawyers to explore alternatives with their clients but also provide the relevant information, precedent forms, EU regulations and most usefully two appendices 1 and 2 which contain FAQs about mediation and collaborative practice.

This book will be a very useful addition to every lawyer’s library.

Joan O’ Mahony


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