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Baroness Hale opens resolution centre designed to keep people out of courts

Former Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland Lord Kerr, Supreme Court President Lady Hale, Sarah Ramsey Vice Chair of the Bar of Northern Ireland

ONE of the UK's most senior judges has opened a `resolution centre' in Belfast - specifically designed to keep difficult disputes away from the judiciary.

Baroness Hale and her fellow Supreme Court justices, who are making a historic visit to Northern Ireland, regularly hear from its barristers as the final court of appeal in cases of profound importance.

The Bar of Northern Ireland's new Resolution Centre will address a "different and emerging need" for ending disputes through out-of-court mediation and arbitration.

It will bring together skilled mediators and arbitrators in private, acoustically sealed rooms with Wi-Fi, telephone and video conferencing facilities and `flexible' opening hours.

It will be available for commercial disputes and private cases including divorce and family law, offering what the Bar claim will be "a more timely and cost-effective solution with the added advantages of preserving the privacy and relationships of those involved".

Lady Hale congratulated the Bar on the innovation.

"The venue has been specifically designed to support the resolution process and to create the potential for skilled mediators and arbitrators to find solutions for the parties involved," she said.

Liam McCollum QC, chairman of the Bar of Northern Ireland, said its creation is "good news for both local and prospective international clients as it provides another addition to the advantages that the jurisdiction can already offer to them".

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