The passing of the Government's Mediation Bill (2017) has been delayed until autumn after an amendment was added in the Seanad today.
The amendment, tabled by Senator Lynn Ruane, is designed to address concerns raised by Women's Aid that the Bill could increase pressure onvictims of domestic abuse to face abusers in mediation.
The amendment passed by 21 votes to 16.
The original Bill is intended to speed up resolution of disputes; reduce legal costs associated with such disputes and reduce or avoid the stress involved in adversarial court proceedings.
Under the new law, parties in family law cases would be required to attend an information session on mediation.
Where court proceedings have commenced, a judge will also be allowed to invite the parties to consider mediation and suspend the case to facilitate the mediation process.