Agriculture is an area which is particularly suited to Mediation due to the low cost of Mediation as opposed to courts, the small communities and families in which farmers work together with the complex nature of farming. Farming and the Argi business has many variables and at times harsh working conditions and variable pay amounts.
Examples of Mediation in the Agricultural sector include:
- Issues with farm buildings and equipment, sometimes leading to difficulties with the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme or TAMS.
- Neighbour disputes, to include planning issues, excessive noise or disturbance from a neighbour.
- Livestock and veterinary issues.
- Disputes with contractors.
- Boundary and Rights of Way or Easement disputes. The Right of Way in dispute sometimes is the only access to property.Sometimes the dispute is about the type of use permitted for instance is Agricultural use permitted.
- Issues arising from Farm accidents.
- Family disputes arising out of the transfer of some or all of the farm to the next generation.
- Succession planning can mean the transfer to a young trained farmer before the age of 35 in order to avail of tax relief on stamp duty under section 81AA of the Stamp Duty Consolidation Act 1999.
The mediator will help the clients
- Isolate the disputed issues.
- Discuss the options open to the parties.
- Develop and explore the options and potential consequences for same.
- Deal with any imbalance of power between the parties
- Draft and agreement if one is reached.
Disputes with contractors regularly happen when there has been an accident or a mistake happen leading to a loss for the farmer or the contractor or both. There can be confusion and differing opinions as to where the fault lies.The aim of Mediation in situations such as this is to avoid court and legal costs where possible and to maintain relationships where possible especially when dealing with small agricultural communities. Regularly contractors are brought in to farms on a casual basis and know the farmer. This can mean that the parameter of what is expected of them, such as issues of insurance, the standard the work should meet, the quality of materials used, the time scales, and other factors may not have been fully agreed in advance. Sometimes issues with building or construction work can lead to issues with expenditure qualifying for grants under Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme or TAMS
The Agricultural and Agri business sectors are availing more of Mediation. Mediation is used in many different ways in the Agribusiness and Farming sector and the FAI or Farmers Association of Ireland encourage Mediation.The Mediators Institute of Ireland or MII recently had a stand at the 2018 Ploughing Championships in Tullamore, Co. Offally.
Family disputes within Agriculture
Sadly a very common dispute which comes to Mediation within the agricultural sector is when a child has taken over the farm and tensions have arisen between the generations. It is not the kind of dispute that usually ends up in court but it is one that can cause huge damage to relationships if not rectified. It is a type of dispute particularity suited to Mediation.
Agricultural Mediation is predominately rural based. Susan from Appelbe Mediation regularly travels to rural areas within Cork, Kerry and other counties dealing with Mediation. if you are based in a rural area of Munster or even as far flung as Sneem, Waterville, Kilkee, Lahinch, Goleen, Cahersiveen, Kilcrohane, Glenbeigh, Ventry,or Listowel, a Mediator can travel to you.
Land and Property Mediation
Property law is a area that disputes regularly arise, issues include:
- Squatters rights
- Rights of Way
- Easements (usually a right to run a cable or a pipe through another property)
- Boundary issues, these can become very contentious between neighbours especially where property is very expensive. Old maps sometimes do not reflect what is on the ground. Sometimes a boundary expert or Land Surveyor will be required to attempt to determine where the boundary lies.
Susan from Appelbe mediation worked as a solicitor primarily in the areas of property law and conveyancing with both Land Registry and Registry of Deeds property titles so has an excellent understanding of the options open to people and what solutions may be possible.Susan worked with all types of conveyancing when she was working as a solicitor. This included boundary disputes, land transfers, succession, wills, taxes, neighbour and family disputes. Susan with her legal knowledge on conveyancing and property issues is well positioned to be the Mediator on such disputes.
Succession, Wills and Inheritance of property
The areas where issues regularly arise are as follows:
Wills and entitlements under them. This includes who applies for the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.
- If there is no will who inherits is set out in the Succession Act 1965. When someone dies without a will this is know as Intestate. In this event someone may need to apply for Letters of Administration of the intestate estate.
- Disputes arise in many ways one is if the will is unclear as to what was intended.
- Disputes arise is if there is a will and there are children who have not been properly provided for. This can include an application to the courts under s.117 of the Succession Act 1965.
- Disputes with the Executor, Executrix or Executors of the estate. The Executors are supposed to follow the wishes set out in the will. Disputes arise when beneficiaries or people getting gifts from an estate do not feel that the Executor or Administrator of the estate is administering the will as per the wishes to the deceased.
Capital Acquisitions Tax(CAT), also known as gift tax can be significant. Different relatives and groups of people get tax free allowances depending which group you fall into for Capital Acquisitions Tax(CAT) purposes. The tax free allowances are significant for close relatives such as children, further out relatives such as nephews and nieces do not qualify for such high tax free allowances and are liable to Capital Acquisitions Tax(CAT) on the gift value after the tax free allowance. The high burden of this means disputes arise in relation to the sale of assets in order to pay for the taxes. Disputes also arise in relation to issues around valuations of the items.
This is of course can be a very sensitive time for family suffering from a recent bereavement, sometimes the Mediation occurs between siblings who feel that a parents estate was not distributed fairly , even though it was per the will.
Susan worked as a solicitor for many years, one of her areas was applying for Grants to Probate and Administering the Estates of deceased people. Susan advised many clients in relation to their entitlements under the Succession Act 1965 and in relation to Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT). Susan’s experience both with Mediation and the legal side of these matters make her a very suitable choice of Mediator for disputes like this.