The Mediation Process
Disputes may be referred to the Centre for mediation:
- voluntarily, that is following a decision made by the disputing parties; or
- following a decree or order by the Court or other adjudicatory authority at the request of the parties to the proceedings after litigious proceedings would have already commenced. Where the court considers it appropriate that the dispute may be resolved through the assistance of a mediator, it may, on its own initiative refer the dispute to mediation; or
- by law, that is to say by any authority not being an adjudicatory authority or through the execution of a clause in a contract requiring the parties to submit to mediation any dispute arising under or out of the terms of the contract.
Request for Mediation
The parties in dispute are required to submit their request for mediation by filling the eForm application through the Centre’s website top menu ‘EFORMS and FAQS’. Upon payment of the fee as per Tariff of Fees S.L. 474.01, the Centre provides the parties with a list of accredited mediators to select one of them to conduct the mediation proceedings.
Appointment of Mediator
Whether in the case of a voluntary mediation or one that is referred to the Centre by the Court or other adjudicatory authority or by law, a mediator is selected by the disputing parties from the list of mediators accredited by the Centre, provided the person chosen is mutually acceptable to all the parties in dispute. If the parties do not agree on the choice of a mutually acceptable mediator, the Centre will appoint as mediator the person whose name is next on the list of approved mediators.
Scheduling the Mediation
Following his/her appointment, the mediator will contact the parties and their legal counsel, if they are so assisted, in order to fix a mutually available date for the holding of the first meeting. Mediation parties may be assisted by legal counsel before or during the mediation proceedings.
By and large the mediation proceeds as follows:
- the mediator gives a brief description of his role and that of the parties. He then explains the ground rules of the process (i.e. the standards of conduct for mediation) such as the parties agree to talk one at a time and not to interrupt each other, to call each other by their first names, to trust each other and use respectful language, to stop dwelling on past events and focus on what is important for the present and future to come to an agreement, etc.;
- each party will then be invited by the mediator to give a brief account of the facts of the dispute from his/her perspective. This may be done either in joint session or, if the parties feel more comfortable, it may be done privately with the mediator provided both parties agree;
- after having heard both sides of the story, the mediator may ask questions to clarify certain matters in order to enable him assist the parties overcome any obstacle;
- the mediator will then identify points of agreement between the parties in an effort to search and explore options for settlement.