Mediation is defined by the Act as a process in which a mediator, who is a neutral, qualified and impartial individual, facilitates negotiations between parties to assist them in reaching a voluntary agreement regarding their dispute.
Amendments to the Act
The principal Act was amended by Act IX of 2010 principally for the purposes of transposing into our legislation the provisions of Council Directive 2008/52/EC on Certain Aspects of Mediation in Civil and Commercial Matters. The amending Act came into force on 14 January 2011 by L.N. 10/2011. The provisions of the Directive which regulate cross-border disputes were extended to apply also to domestic cases.
In view that the provisions of our Mediation Act were, by and large, compliant with those of the Directive only a few minor amendments were required to be made to the principal Act as a result of the adoption of the Directive.
Domestic and International Mediation
The Act makes provision both for domestic and international mediation:
(a) “Domestic mediation” is defined by the Act as any mediation of a civil, family, social, commercial and industrial nature. It should be pointed out that family mediation refers to certain family disputes such as, for example, inheritance disputes or disputes arising out of family-owned business. It does not include separation or divorce which fall under the competence of the Civil Court, Family Section, and are regulated by specific legislation.
(b) According to the Act. “international mediation” includes cross-border disputes of a civil and commercial nature. A cross-border dispute is one in which at least one of the parties is domiciled or habitually resident in Malta and the other party is domiciled or habitually resident in another State of the European Union.