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From Kilkenny to Kenya

Over to Ireland for this blog where Mr Justice Brian McGovern is hearing the ongoing and bitter battle between mother and son over the ownership of the Kilkenny luxury design retail shops.

All family disputes have an impact on the wider family and Northwest Mediation often talks about these effects during mediations to help parties recognise that the dispute they have has much a wider impact – something they know but don’t often actively address.

In this case the outcome will affect 300 people which the 50 million euro business Kilkenny employs, the case between Greg O’Gorman and his mother Marian also now involves Greg’s dad, Michael, and the other two O’Gorman children, Christopher and Michelle as they were joined as parties with an interest in the outcome as alleged beneficial owners of 25% share.

The judge on hearing that the parties were to try mediation said they were “very wise” to do so. And so, Northwest Mediation would add, is everyone who tries mediation, with its saving in costs, time and stress.

The case was adjourned by agreement for 3 weeks to enable the parties to mediate.

Marian is the CEO of the company currently running the department stores

The dispute dates back to July 2016 when Greg alleges after 13 years’ service as marketing director he was summarily dismissed leaving him unable to find work and “financially destitute”. He says he was promised a share transfer and that his mother had reneged on a family agreement regarding the ownership.

Greg alleges that despite the recession the business flourished thanks to his management.

The “family constitution” which made the business a family partnership was allegedly and unexpectedly cancelled at a company meeting following which Greg’s employment was ended.

Meanwhile in Nairobi 218 trade disputes worth Sh 8.4 billion (£64million) have been sent to mediation in just one month, Deputy Registrar Elizabeth Tanui confirmed that was over 20% of the cases recorded at the court since a practice direction was brought in encouraging mediation prior to litigation she added:-

“Mediation is now a permanent feature in our courts and all civil suits are first brought to my office for screening to determine whether it is a matter that should go into full hearing or for mediation”

Whether you need Northwest Mediation’s help with an employment issue (irrespective of whether your employer is your family), a commercial or contractual dispute (and it doesn’t have to be worth millions to be worth mediating), or a family dispute (it could involve a family business but it doesn’t need to for it to be causing heartache), call us to explore how we can assist on 07931318347 or via email at

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