Mediation Q & A
- What is Mediation?
Mediation is an effective way of resolving disputes out-of-court. The parties involved, take part in the process accompanied by their lawyers and along with the assistance of a neutral Mediator, they negotiate in order to reach an agreement which will resolve their dispute. The terms of the aforementioned agreement are included in the Settlement Agreement which follows specific requirements in order to be enforceable.
The process of mediation is regulated in the Greek legal system according to law no 4640/2019.
- Who is the Mediator and how is he/she defined?
The Mediator is an objective third party, facilitator of a negotiating procedure, who has been trained and accredited accordingly so as to be able to neutralize the tension between the parties involved in a negotiation, promote constructive dialogue and finally facilitate in the reaching of an agreement.
The Mediator is jointly selected by the parties involved and is responsible for fulfilling his/her duties according to the Law and the Accredited Mediators Code of Conduct. All Accredited Mediators in accordance with the provisions of the Greek Law on Mediation no 4640/2019 are included in the Hellenic Ministry of Justice Transparency and Human Rights Accredited Mediators Public List. The parties involved in a Mediation process can choose the Accredited Mediator they prefer by acquiring a copy of the aforementioned list.
- When and how can a dispute be subject to Mediation?
A dispute can be subject to mediation, should the involved parties agree to it. This can be at any stage of the dispute. That is prior or even after its possible recourse to justice, up until a decision has been made by the Court of Appeal.
In accordance with the provisions of the Greek Law on Mediation no 4640/2019, civil and commercial law cases could be subjected to Mediation if all parties involved agree to enter the process voluntarily. Nevertheless, there are a list of cases that are subjected to a Mandatory Initial Mediation Session during which the Mediator informs the parties, who are accompanied by their lawyers, Mediation and its procedure. After the conclusion of this session, if the parties have agreed to subject their case to Mediation, they sign the Mediation Agreement and move on.
The Greek Court can only suggest but not refer a dispute to be resolved through the process of mediation.
- Who is involved in a Mediation process and how is it carried out?
The parties who are directly linked to the dispute, their attorneys and the Mediator, who is selected by the parties take part in the Mediation process. The decisive responsibility lies with the parties involved who are the ones that will create their Agreement. The Mediator, who has been appropriately qualified with specific training in psychological and negotiating techniques, tries to help the parties resolve their dispute and reach an agreement, via a series of private and common meetings.
The Mediator neither makes any decisions that lead to the outcome of the case nor judges each party’s point of view on the matter. The process of Mediation is carried out under strict confidentiality rules, no records of the conversations which occurred during the process are kept and all separate discussions between the Mediator and each individual party are not openly announced to the rest of the parties involved, unless there is a given consent by the relative party mentioned. In addition, the fact that a mediation process has been agreed on and is in action is confidential information, while the parties involved are not allowed to testify as witnesses in potential, between the aforementioned parties, future legal proceedings.
- What is the duration of a mediation process?
The actual conduct of the process of Mediation is usually completed in, but not limited to, one working day. Prior to the Mediation’s conduct commencement, there is a preparation stage where the Mediator contacts the parties involved and their respective attorneys, informs them about the process and procedure and an agreement to enter the mediation process is signed. Following, each attorney sends the documents that include the position of each party, with regards to the dispute, to the Mediator.
As far as the cases that are subjected to a Mandatory Initial Session of Mediation, there is certain procedure that must be followed according to the Greek Law and that includes deadlines and formal notification of the parties.
- Disputes of what nature can be resolved with Mediation?
In accordance with the provisions of the Greek Law no 4640/2019, Mediation can be used to resolve disputes under the private law, for which the parties involved have the authority to dispose the object over which the dispute has occurred. The majority of disputes under the private law satisfy this prerequisite (e.g. property, trading, rental agreement, inheritance, some cases of family disputes etc.). Disputes which are not to be resolved through the process of Mediation are under the public law (e.g. taxing disputes), and under the same category fall disputes of the private law that are required by law to be litigated and a final court decision to be made (e.g. a divorce).
- How much does Mediation cost?
The Mediator’s payment is agreed upon, with no pre-set restrictive guidelines, between the parties involved which share the cost equally (unless an alternative arrangement has been made) and the Mediator and it is due in advance. According to the provision of Law 4640/2019, there is a minimum cost of 80 euros per hour. Each party is responsible for the payment of its attorney for which a bonus can be agreed, should the process produces successful results.
- Why should the parties involved in a dispute choose to resolve it through Mediation?
- Because they can resolve their dispute immediately with no delays
- Because they negotiate under conditions which themselves have voluntarily chosen, facilitated by the Mediator.
- Because the procedure is confidential
- Because the less time needed to resolve the dispute, the lower its resolution cost is
- Because the agreement of the dispute resolution (which is included in the Settlement Agreement) is, under specific requirements, enforceable and equal to a court decision.
- Because they can maintain a good relationship between them and (potentially) extend their collaboration.
- How can I become a Mediator?
In accordance with the provisions of the Greek Law on Mediation no 4640/2019, a Mediator must have had training from the Training Centers defined in Law 4640/2019 and then sit for the accreditation exams of the Ministry of Justice Transparency and Human Rights in order to become an accredited mediator and be subsequently included in the related Ministry’s Accredited Mediators Public List.
Today, there are 5 Training Centers licensed by the Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights in Greece.
- Which is the relevant Hellenic and European legislation concerning Mediation?
A. Greek Legislation
Law No 4640/2019
B. European Legislation
- Directive 2008/52/EC of 21.5.2008 on certain aspects of Mediation in civil and commercial cases
- Directive 2013/11/EU of 21.5.2013 on alternative dispute resolution for consumer disputes and amending Regulation (EC) 2006/2004 and Directive 2009/22/EC
Commission Regulation (EU) 524/2013 of 21.5.2013 on online dispute resolution for consumer disputes and amending Regulation (EC) 2006/2004 and Directive 2009/22/EC (Regulation on consumer ODR)