Mediation is an Alternative Dispute Resolution Method (ADR Method) which can be an alternative option for resolving a dispute between two (or more parties), other than through the Courts.
Mediation, like other ADR Methods (such as Arbitration), has advantages over a court process: it is faster, more cost-effective, and involves the confidentiality of the process, as opposed to a trial which is a general procedure open to the public.
In addition, Mediation, has the added advantage of being a more conciliatory and peaceful way of resolving a dispute between two parties, without necessarily causing the two parties to derail and terminate the relationship and/or cooperation of the two parties, as is almost always the case when a dispute leads to Trial or Arbitration.
In terms of its practical application, it is a structured process (regardless of the name), in which two or more parties try to reach an agreement on resolving their dispute voluntarily with the help of a Mediator, as a third, a neutral, independent and impartial party.
This impartial third party is a Certified Mediator, who is selected jointly and with the consent of all parties involved in a dispute.
Ways, the Disputing Parties, can enter into a Mediation process in Cyprus:
Under the current legal regime in Cyprus, there are three ways for the disputing parties to enter into a Mediation process:
1) By a voluntary agreement of the parties when a dispute arises
2) Through a Mediation Clause in a Contract signed between the parties
3) During a court case, when both parties agree or when one party requests it and the Court deems that this is the best course of action in this particular case (rare application).
Informatively, it should be noted that in other countries, such as Greece and Italy, there is a mandatory pre-trial mediation procedure prior to the adjudication of the civil action, something which is not currently applied in the Cypriot legal system.
The Stages of Mediation:
When and if the disputing parties enter into a Mediation process, then the Mediation process is divided into the following five stages:
1)Preparation: Where any possible conflict of interest of the Mediator is examined, e.g., if he had previously cooperated with one of the parties of the dispute (as it also happens in an Arbitration process for the selection of an Arbitrator), the acceptance of his appointment, the drafting and signing of the agreement affiliating the dispute to Mediation, the Mediator’s briefing, the appointment of the session, the venue, and the authorizations by the parties.
2) Opening Statements: Both of the Mediator (where he outlines his role, the way the procedure is conducted and the ultimate goal which is the resolve of the dispute) and of the Parties (where each party expresses its position on the dispute being mediated).
3) Investigation: Where separate confidential discussions take place between the Mediator and the parties, questions, investigation of the history of the dispute and the pursuit of interests.
4) Negotiations: Where the parties with the help of the Mediator create options and solutions for the dispute with proposals and dialogue between them.
5) Dispute Settlement Agreement: In case of a successful mediation process, the dispute is closed with the «Mediation Settlement Agreement» signing.
Mediation Settlement Agreement
«The Mediation Settlement Agreement» is probably the most crucial part of Mediation, as the Mediation process (and what has been agreed in it) is not binding until the two parties sign the Mediation Settlement Agreement.
The Mediation Settlement Agreement is drafted up by the Mediator, where what has been agreed is recorded in writing. It is then signed by him, and the parties and a true copy is given to each party of the Mediation. In this case, any party involved can file and register the Mediation Settlement Agreement in Court (as it is the case with an Arbitral Award) and then an Implementing Order is issued, and the Mediation becomes fullybinding.
Laws and Procedures governing Mediation in Cyprus
The Laws governing Mediation in Cyprus are the following:
Law on Certain Matters of Mediation in Civil Disputes of 2012 (159 (I)/2012), which is the national law that governs the application and the procedure of Mediation in Cyprus, as well as the qualifications that a potential certified Mediator should possess.
Additionally, the above law stipulates the existence of two separate Registers of Mediators which are kept by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Cyprus:
Register of Mediators for Commercial Disputes
Register of Mediators for Civil Disputes other than Commercial Disputes
Directive 2008/52/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 21 May 2008, on certain aspects of mediation on civil and commercial matters, where this European Directive applies in the event of cross-border disputes in civil and commercial matters other than certain rights and obligations which the parties are unable to decide on the basis of the applicable law, and which dispute may be referred to Mediation as an ADR.
The European Code of Conduct for Mediators, which is currently the applicable Code of Conduct for Mediators in Cyprus, as the Cyprus Code of Conduct for Mediators has not yet been created.
Law on Family Disputes Mediation of 2019 (Ν. 62(Ι)/2019), which regulates issues that fall within the scope of Family Law such as Property Disputes, Alimony, and the Use of the Family House. Matters concerning Divorce and Child Custody remain in the exclusive jurisdiction of the Family Court.
Furthermore, informatively, due to the peculiarity of Family Mediation, discussions and actions have been taken to create a third separate Register of Mediators for Family Disputes.
The Future of Mediation in Cyprus:
In recent years the number of registered Mediators in Cyprus has increased dramatically and the interest of the business and commercial world in finding an ADR Method, both from the Court and from Arbitration, which is not confrontational, has turned the eyes of several stakeholders to Mediation as an economic, speedy confidential and peaceful option to resolve a dispute between 2 two parties.
*Το περιεχόμενο του παρόντος άρθρου έχει ισχύει κατά την ημερομηνία της πρώτης έκδοσής του. Αποσκοπεί στο στα παρέχει μια γενική εισαγωγή και καθοδήγηση στον εν λόγω θέμα και σε καμία περίπτωση δεν συνιστά νομική συμβουλή. Σας συνιστούμε να αναζητήσετε επαγγελματικές συμβουλές σχετικά με το συγκεκριμένο σας θέμα προτού προχωρήσετε σε οποιαδήποτε ενέργεια με γνώμονα τις πληροφορίες που περιέχονται στο πιο άνω κείμενο. Για περισσότερες πληροφορίες ή συμβουλές, παρακαλώ επικοινωνήστε με τον Ko. Χρίστο Γ. Γεωργίου, Δικηγόρο, Διαμεσολαβητή & Νομικό Σύμβουλο στην δικηγορική εταιρεία CHAMBERSFIELD ECONOMIDES KRANOS, στην Λεμεσό, τηλ. +357 25 356 800 ή στα emails firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
* The content of this article is valid as at the date of its first publication. It is intended to provide a general guide to the subject-matter and does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you seek professional advice on your specific matter before acting on any information provided. For further information or advice, please contact Mr. Christos G. Georgiou, Advocate, Mediator & Legal Consultant at the Law Firm CHAMBERSFIELD ECONOMIDES KRANOS, in Limassol Cyprus, # +357 25 356 800 or email at [email protected], [email protected].