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03 April 2019

Probate mediation

Earlier this year I was again entrusted with mediating a family trusts and probate dispute. These are often among the hardest to resolve, with a potent tangle of strong emotions, historic grievances, and large sums of money. Hanging over any inheritance case is always the wholly arbitrary power of

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20 April 2018

Interpreting contracts –the end of contra proferentem?

In Multiplex v Dunne CILL (2017 TCC) the High Court appeared to make redundant the adverse interpretation principle of contractual interpretation. Formerly known to lawyers as “contra proferentem”, this enabled a contracting party to rely upon ambiguities and alternative meanings in a document

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01 February 2018

Why shortage of judges could drive reform

These have been worsened by a growing reluctance among successful QC's to take the job on, as the pension terms are now much less attractive. Also, the retirement age for senior judges has been reduced from 75 to 70, which has also driven out some very competent senior judges.This has contributed to growing pressure on judicial time, and lengthening waiting lists. Before the 1996 Woolf reforms, waiting for a trial 2 or even 3 years was not uncommon, and we may be going back that way. There is little sign that the chancellor has any spare money to divert to the legal

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01 January 2018

Is litigation the highest form of gambling known to man?

You are then referred to a case or statute, or a learned article to prove it. This has probably stalled more mediations than any other procedural problem.The mediator’s challenge temptation is to get into argument, and looking partisan, or antagonistic. Another approach is to try to overcome the confidence expressed by asking “what could go wrong?”, or even “so you’re saying that your client can’t lose? Are you putting that in writing?” My favourite

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01 December 2017

Ireland's new Mediation Act

At first glance, Ireland's new Mediation Act, 2017, which came into force at the start of this year, seems to do little more than require Irish lawyers to explain mediation and its advantages to clients before commencing legal proceedings. All claimant lawyers must now file with their courtAnd if they don’t? Then the court can refuse to let the matter go forward until the Declaration has been filed. As a means of promoting ADR, this seems unlikely to have much impact – no doubt a standard form Statutory Declaration is already on every Dublin law firm’s precedent suite, and the

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