Mediation in civil and commercial matters: European Parliament endorses new rules

Mediation in civil and commercial matters European Parliament endorses new rules

A Directive on certain aspects of mediation in civil and commercial matters was adopted today 23 April 2008. The purpose of the Directive is to facilitate access to cross-border dispute resolution and to promote the amicable settlement of disputes by encouraging the use of mediation and by ensuring a sound relationship between mediation and judicial proceedings. The Directive is one of the follow-up actions to the Green Paper on alternative dispute resolution presented by the Commission in 2002, the other being the European Code of Conduct for Mediators established by a group of stakeholders with the assistance of the Commission and launched in July 2004.

Welcoming the adoption of this Directive, Vice-President Jacques Barrot said: “This Directive fulfils the political objective established in October 1999 by the European Council of Tampere, which – in the context of encouraging better access to justice in Europe – called for the creation of alternative, extrajudicial procedures for dispute resolution in the Member States. Mediation can provide cost-effective and quick extrajudicial resolution of disputes in civil and commercial matters through processes tailored to the needs of the parties. Agreements resulting from mediation are more likely to be complied with voluntarily and help preserve an amicable and sustainable relationship between the parties.

The Commission proposed the Directive in October 2004 (IP/04/1288). The Directive facilitates recourse to mediation by strengthening the legal guarantees accompanying it, thus giving real added value to citizens and businesses in the European Union. The key components of the Directive are as follows:

The Directive obliges Member States to encourage the training of mediators and the development of, and adherence to, voluntary codes of conduct and other effective quality control mechanisms concerning the provision of mediation services.

The Directive gives every Judge in the Community, at any stage of the proceedings, the right to suggest that the parties attend an information meeting on mediation and, if the Judge deems it appropriate, to invite the parties to have recourse to mediation.

The Directive enables parties to give an agreement concluded following mediation a status similar to that of a Court judgment by rendering it enforceable. This can be achieved, for example, by way of judicial approval or notarial certification, thereby allowing such agreements to be enforceable in the Member States under existing Community rules. Continue reading Mediation in civil and commercial matters: European Parliament endorses new rules

New Procedures in the Institute of Arbitration

The Standard Dispute Rules (hereinafter referred to as ‘the rules’) are used, both nationally and internationally, to find a solution to a dispute or to obtain a verdict, quickly, simply and more cheaply, either through reconciliation or arbitration.

I. Conciliation
Either party may demand conciliation. The demand for conciliation is made by letter, fax or Internet. Within 10 workdays, and once the administrative costs have been covered, the other party (parties) is (are) advised of this demand for conciliation. The applicant is notified of any response or reaction by the other party. If the case reveals a serious difficulty the parties may, in that event, call for an expert or a mediator to be appointed, so as to avoid litigation. After one month or when the conciliation fails, either party may initiate arbitration proceedings.

II. Expertise and Mediation
All the parties may demand, together, in writing, for an expert or mediator. Within 15 workdays, and once the administrative costs have been covered, an expert or a mediator will be appointed. Each party bears the costs thereof for equal parts. Within 30 days after the appointment, the expert or mediator shall meet the parties and, within 3 months, he shall make a compromise or give a report with a clear opinion.

III. Arbitration
Before initiating arbitration in the first instance parties are obliged to make an attempt at conciliation every time the law imposes it.

Art. 1: General
Arbitration has, since 1958, been an internationally recognized procedure (convention of New York). Unless otherwise agreed between the parties, only the laws of the country of the clerk’s office of the Court shall apply. The law applies to all that is not expressly stipulated in these rules.

Art. 2: Jurisdiction
Parties who had not foreseen an arbitration clause, may, after a dispute has arisen, conclude a contract thereto. An arbitration agreement must be incorporated in a document signed by both parties or in other legally binding documents. Disputes which cannot be legally submitted for arbitration shall be inadmissible. If one party refuses to take part in the proceedings or does not present its arguments within the stipulated time limit, the dispute will be heard anyway and an award shall be pronounced. Continue reading New Procedures in the Institute of Arbitration