Mediation constitutes one of many ways of alternative dispute resolution, during which one or more parties try to solve their dispute away from court, with the help of a third objective party, the Mediator.
It is a voluntary, flexible and absolutely confidential process, and as such, the parties, coming into mediation with their own will, they can discuss with honesty whatever they are concerned with, given that, whatever comes to light during a mediation session, cannot be used in a court hearing trying the same dispute.
The Mediator helps the parties communicate with each other, finding a solution that satisfies their interests, a solution from which there will be a win-win situation. Specific emphasis is given to the parties’ personality, their interests and needs.
Compared to litigation, mediation is clearly a faster process, with less cost and emotional tension, while the accomplished agreement is the result of the parties’ effort, and not a binding agreement imposed by a judge.
Mediation is an institution that works with great success abroad in the last decades (U.S.A. and Canada but also Europe), while in Greece was introduced by Law 3898/2010, in compliance with Directive 2008/52/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2008 on certain aspects of mediation in civil and commercial matters, was amended by Law 4512/2018 and adopted its final aspect with law 4640/2019.
Article 6 of Law 4640/2019 concerning mediation in civil and commercial cases, gives one the possibility to become fully aware about the institution of mediation. When a case is subject to MIMS, the parties are informed by the mediator about the mediation process, the basic principles governing it as well as the role of the participating parties. The aim of the MIMS is to inform the parties of the mediation process, without discussing the merits of the case. After that, the parties can decide whether they wish to enter in a Mediation Session, where they will attempt to solve their dispute amicably.
Family Mediation is used for disputes arising between spouses, with or without children. It concerns cases subjected to financial disputes (marriage acquisitions), custody, child support and right of access to children. In an era where conflicts within the family environment and separation of couples are common, mediation in such cases can be crucial in the dispute resolution, in a civilized way, away from courts, where confrontation and intense conflicts are unavoidable, while the psychological effect is to be reckoned. Especially in cases where children are involved, mediation seems to be the most effective way to solve the dispute, given that the parents, whose common goal is their children’s interest, can know better than any judge, what is best for them.
Εvery case in which both parties can negotiate and come to a solution without breaching provisions of mandatory law, is amenable to mediation. These type of cases can be met in every day’s life. Mediation can solve quickly and with low cost cases of family law, contract law, property law, inheritance law, as well as commercial disputes, without taking the matter to the court and having as ultimate goal to preserve personal and professional relations. Mediation seems to be imperative, especially in cases that a solution has to be found in a short time; on the other hand, a court decision issued after many years of litigation can be proved not only harmful and disadvantageous for both parties, but also without substantial meaning. During mediation, the parties are responsible for the final result, having the chance to decide themselves the terms of their dispute.
Labour disputes can arise between employers and employees, among employees or between partners of a company. As we spend most of our time in our working environment, we face a lot of problems with respect to business relations, responsibilities, ambitions or company’s benefits. Given that the mediator is a third party, he acts impartially in order to bridge the differences and create a relationship of trust and cooperation. The mediator can be used exclusively by a company for the settlement of the employees’ issues, or even towards the dispute resolution between a company and its contractors within the context of Law 4640/2019, thus finally signing the mediation agreement.
Health care mediation is applied for resolving the disputes between patients and health professionals, patients and hospitals, among colleagues etc. Some of the cases amenable to mediation are medical malpractice, misdiagnosis, omission to inform or lacking information as to the dangers and complications of an operation. Dealing health care disputes through mediation is a good way to reinforce good faith between the parties involved and the will to accomplish an agreement, as well as to maintain their future relationships.
Banking mediation concerns disputes between credit institutions and borrowers, individuals and/or legal entities, in order to restructure the non-performing loans. Mediation is imperative because of the volume of the loans, as well as because of the banking practice to recourse to justice, which may lead to positive court decisions, but without satisfying their interests. Banking mediation helps both parties to take advantage of the procedure, working on their interests and needs.
Alternative dispute resolution in shipping cases is very popular in the last decades, especially with the form of arbitration, which has binding effects to both parties, given that the decision is issued by an arbitrator. Maritime mediation is the uprising alternative dispute resolution with a 90% of success, concerning disputes of cargo transportation, marine insurance, ship chartering, sale and purchase etc. Mediation is a more flexible procedure than arbitration as the mediator helps the parties to find a way to settle differences and arrange a deal that will meet their interests in short time, avoiding situations like ships arrests, until the dispute is finally solved through a court decision or arbitration.