Mediation in Civil and Commercial disputes
Until recently in Greece, the only way to resolve a dispute between two parties was going to court. This involved up to several years of litigation, extremely high cost and relationship damage between the two parties. Current law offers parties the opportunity to resolve almost every dispute under private law through mediation with the participation of an impartial and neutral third party, the mediator, taking the role of the facilitator in a non-formal, more cost-effective, less time-consuming and less adversarial than traditional litigation process.
Most of the disputes that arise in our everyday life and professional activities, such as commercial disputes, banking and insurance disputes, financial disputes, inheritance disputes, labor disputes, real estate disputes, medical liability disputes, family disputes, landlord-tenant disputes, construction disputes, intellectual property disputes and many others, can be settled in a satisfactory manner for both parties with mediation.
Commercial disputes arise every day due to millions of daily transactions between companies. They range from simple monetary disputes, payment defaults and outstanding balances, breach of contacts, production and goods delivery deadlines, defective products, and countless other causes.
However, many people ask why should I use a Mediator? The simple fact is that if people used mediation as a way or resolving disputes our court system would be a lot less congested. We are literally clogging up the court system by taking our disputes to and through the door. Mediation is a proven method of settling disputes and saving people a lot of money, pain and suffering. The main points and rules about mediation are:
- Mediation is a private and confidential process with no minutes kept.
- Mediation is a structured process, yet informal.
- You set the timetable to mediate.
- There is no need to wait for a lengthy legal process.
- Mediation can save a lot of time. A resolution is usually reached in a single session.
- The sooner a resolution is reached, the sooner one can experience the end of conflict, and the relieving of the stress, anxiety, uncertainly, distraction and expense of the conflict.
- The parties control the outcome of the process. The outcome of costly legal disputes is never guaranteed. There is always some uncertainty in the outcome.
- Mediation is much less expensive than litigation. Even a very simple lawsuit can cost several thousands of Euros in solicitors fees, plus costs, which can be significant. Usually, parties pay for their own lawyers, and there can be a risk of also having to pay the opposing party's legal fees if one losses. The earlier in the litigation process mediation is used, the greater the cost savings can be.
- Mediation can address all conflicts and concerns, not just legal issues.
- It is possible to reach comprehensive practical solutions that are tailored to each specific situation. Solutions can be very creative.
- Mediation can help the parties preserve on-going relationships.
- Since the parties have invested in the mediation process, solutions reached are more likely to work and be performed by the parties than when a court dictates the results.
- Mediation is voluntary and each party has the right to withdraw from the process at any point of time. One's legal rights are preserved if no solution is reached.
- All those participating in mediation cannot be examined as witnesses in the same case before a court of law and cannot be required to submit information on mediation or in arbitration proceedings in the same case.
- Even if a comprehensive solution is not reached, mediation can lead to better understanding and improvement in situations which can prevent legal confrontations.
- Mediator does not issue a decision. In case where the parties fail to reach an agreement, the mediator will prepare and sign a Statement of Failure and the parties will have the right to seek resolution to their dispute through other lawful means.
- Where there is a case pending in a court, the court will stay it's proceedings until the mediation process ends.
- Mediation aims to satisfy the interests and needs of both parties. By reaching an agreement there are no winners and losers as is the case in courts. Mediation is a win-win option.
- The fees of the mediator are paid in advance and are usually split equally to both parties, unless otherwise agreed. Mediator's fees do not depend on the outcome of the mediation process.
- In Greece it is mandatory for the parties to have their legal counselors involved in the mediation process. Any written agreement should be reviewed and approved by counsel for each party.
- Mediators are bound by strict rules of conduct in the exercise of their duties and in particular by legal instruments such as the Mediators' Code of Ethics (Ministerial Decree 109088 Fin. / 12.12.2011), Ministerial Decree 70330/9.7.2015 and the European Mediators' Code of Conduct.
- Mediation applies to civil & commercial disputes (private disputes). It does not apply for the time being to criminal cases, or disputes with state authorities, or to cases requiring a court decision (eg divorce). Contact us about your case and we will inform you if your dispute can be resolved through mediation.
- LATEST >>> Per the latest Mediation Law 4512/2018 (articles 178 to 206), under the provision of art. 182 par. 1, mediation in specific commercial and civil cases will be mandatory in Greece as of November 30, 2019 (art. 206). To this end, parties will be required by civil procedure rules to take part in a mediation before having their cases heard in court.