This year is the 40th anniversary year of the founding the Irish Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb). As a contribution to the marking of the anniversary I have just completed a book titled ‘The Irish Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators – The early years 1981 – 1993.’ The book was launched at the branch AGM and Annual Lunch held in Dublin on 29 April 2022, attended by over 120 members and guests.
The book traces the modest beginnings the Irish Branch of CIArb which was to become what is today the preeminent organisation in the promotion of arbitration and various other formal processes to resolve conflict across the whole of Ireland. These processes are collectively known by the term Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in seeking to provide an alternative form for dispute resolution, thus avoiding any necessity of recourse through the courts.
From the beginning the branch, with a core of experienced and considered, yet enormously enthusiastic members quickly established itself as a centre of expertise and learning that was to become respected internationally. The branch sought to bring reform to the area of dispute resolution through a full reconsideration of the prevailing legislative context, with access and influence at the highest levels of the government.
But the branch was not without its problems, the breadth of differing opinion across its membership naturally created debate and sometimes controversies. Through its ambition and commitment to create positive change the branch faced challenges, some being described as grave, in having far-reaching consequences. However, the measured approach of the committee and its members in having the courage to address and resolve these challenges is very much part of the firm foundation on which the branch exists today.
In 2022, the Irish Branch is one of the largest and most important branches of the CIArb worldwide network of over 41 branches. The institute was established in 1915 to raise the status of a professional arbitrator to a distinct and recognised position among the learned professions where it now has a worldwide membership of over 21,500 in 149 countries.
The book captures the trials and tribulations, the moments of doubt and the moments of celebration experienced by the Irish Branch of the CIArb in its formative years. Primarily, the book seeks to ensure that the important work of the branch and its membership across the island of Ireland in its early years can be appreciated and not forgotten. Further detail on the book can be found in the publications section of my web site.