26 April 2016

McCann FitzGerald sponsors innovative mediation scholarships at Maynooth University

New scholarships highlight critical role of mediation in resolving disputes

Two postgraduate scholarships for further research into conflict resolution for commercial, employment and public administrative disputes have been announced today by Maynooth University, where the Edward M Kennedy Institute is based, and leading law firm McCann FitzGerald.

The award, open to anyone holding a minimum 2.1 undergraduate degree in law, will allow two students to complete the one year fulltime Masters in Mediation and Conflict Intervention delivered by Maynooth University’s Edward M Kennedy Institute for Conflict Intervention and co-supervised by the university’s Department of Law. This Masters programme gives students the opportunity to deepen their skillset with regards Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and delivers a professional training in every facet of mediation. The award covers the entire application and registration fees for the scholars, which makes its approximate value €9000 per student.

Speaking about the scholarships, Peter Cassells, Executive Director of the Edward M Kennedy Institute, observed: “We are delighted that McCann FitzGerald has decided to sponsor these postgraduate scholarships. Whether it is in an industrial, commercial, or public setting, we have seen countless examples in recent times of how conflicts can cause massive disruptions to people’s lives and bring economic progress to a standstill.

Professor Michael Doherty, Head of the Department of Law at Maynooth University, added: "The Masters in Mediation and Conflict Intervention recognises the increasing importance of integrating mediation into the modern law graduate’s skillset, and the research of these Mediation Scholars will undoubtedly deepen our understanding of the role it can play.

As McCann FitzGerald Partner and Head of Employment Group Terence McCrann notes: “McCann FitzGerald wants to promote mediation as a method of dispute resolution for organisations and business. Right now, there is a real need for a national forum or model to facilitate mediation relating to terms and conditions of employment. Such a mechanism would help reduce industrial relations disputes. The scholarship research on the use of mediation by businesses in the Commercial Court will highlight the significant merits of mediating commercial disputes. Applicants with practical and innovative proposals for addressing these issues will stand a great chance.

Maynooth University President Philip Nolan welcomed the announcement: “Collaborating with universities and funding scholarships is a great way for companies to create change in areas that are important to them. Last year saw the tenth anniversary of the Intel Women in Technology scholarship at Maynooth, which came about because of the company’s desire to address the shortage of women in the sector. By creating this new Mediation Scholarship, McCann FitzGerald is sending a message to industry of the value it places on conflict resolution while also helping to foster top talent that will benefit the industry as whole.

For further information please see the Maynooth University Graduate Studies Office website or email masters.scholarships@nuim.ie

Two Mediation Postgraduate Scholarships - Summary

Industrial Relations Resolution

The first scholarship looks at employer/employee models which seek to resolve issues relating to terms and conditions of employment well before they reach crisis and industrial action including strike action point. The need for such a model has been identified by both ICTU and IBEC. This is particularly urgent given the current level of industrial unrest in disputes such as LUAS. Demands for pay increases for nurses, Gardaí and teachers are other recent examples which could escalate into major unrest and disruption if not addressed and resolved. The scholarship research is designed to identify how an employer/employee conference/ model could work. Completion of the research should be of significant practical assistance to the resolution of major industrial relations issues.

Commercial Court – Mediation Use

The Commercial Court has been operating very successfully for a number of years involving the fast-tracking of litigation and resolution of complex commercial disputes and its success has been acknowledged by business and legal advisers operating with it. A key component of the Commercial Court case management service is a parallel mediation option and all parties are strongly encouraged to avail of the mediation option with a view to exploring resolution of what can be very complex commercial disputes. This scholarship research is designed to carry out a review of the use of mediation to date at the Commercial Court and measure its volume and success and also highlight its merits for dispute resolution for business.

Closing date for completed applications is 5pm, 27th May, 2016.

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