Mediation is an alternative form of dispute resolution that aims to resolve all types of dispute outside court proceedings and arbitration. Mediation is a voluntary, confidential and flexible process, via which disputes between parties are settled. Mediation is interactive, yet structured, and involves an independent third party, the mediator, who, through the use of specialised negotiation and communication techniques, assists the parties to consider all available options with the objective of reaching an agreement between within in a set time frame.
▸ Provides parties with control over the process and the resolution
▸ Provides parties with confidentiality throughout the negotiation process
▸ Proves more efficient than lengthy court proceedings, saving parties energy and time
▸ Generates financial savings by comparison to costly court proceedings
▸ Assists parties in finding workable and realistic resolutions, possibly for the long-term
▸ Has a high success and compliance rate according to European and International studies
▸ Offers a high chance of parties’ preserving relationships, doing so with dignity and respect
In the UK, the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) describe mediation as ‘a third party facilitating a resolution’, during which the mediator does not decide the case; his/her role is to facilitate the settlement discussion, with the parties deciding whether to settle and on what terms.
For EU Cross-border disputes, the EU Mediation Directive (2008/52/EC) aims to facilitate and promote settlement through mediation, and applies to most civil and commercial cross-border disputes where one party is domiciled in the United Kingdom or other EU Member States and the other in another distinct EU member states.
In Greece, according to N. 4640/2019, mediation is institutionalised with regards to a series of identified by legislation civil and commercial disputes and forms part of the civil procedural regulatory framework, with several of its provisions introducing amendments to the Greek Code of Civil Procedure (CCP), which necessitate that mediation is explored as an option prior to commencing litigation proceedings in certain cases.
The costs involved in mediating versus litigating a dispute will depend on the complexities of each individual case, which must be taken into account before providing numbers. However, mediation is considerably less expensive than each party paying for court and advocate fees in taking their case to court. For example, if a typical case negotiated using a mediator costs around £4,000, including the fees of the representative advocates of each side, the same case may cost in excess of £30,000 to litigate in court. Also remember that time is of value. Most meditations last on average no more than two to three days, which includes the consultation, follow up meetings, mediated settlement agreement and any additional documents. The cost of mediation are normally divided between the parties on a 50-50 basis. For court proceedings parties will require depositions, hiring of experts, appearances, trial costs and appeal costs, which also translates into months or years of engaging in this process.
Mediation advocacy is the party's legal representation during mediation, at which counsel will present and argue a client’s position, needs and interests in a non-adversarial way. It is advised when it is guaranteed to help provide clients with the legal expertise and knowledge they may not have access to themselves, giving them clear and informed insight into the mediation process. When and if you opt for having a mediator advocate represent you make sure that their representation is aligned with the mediation process and that a non-adversarial mindset is followed. In England & Wales, parties can also represent themselves during the mediation process, should they be comfortable in doing so. In other jurisdictions in Europe, such as in Greece for example, the law mandates the presence of mediator advocates in the process.
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