What is mediation? And why would you want to participate in mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary, and sometimes contractually binding, legally provided procedure in which parties (contractual parties, employer and employee, co-owners, etc.) that are in conflict or dispute attempt to find the best, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution for the conflict or dispute with the help of an independent third party (mediator) and without initiating court proceedings (but even while court proceedings are in progress). The objective of mediation is the final resolution of a conflict or dispute by reaching a written settlement in court or out of court, and by doing so, eliminating the uncertainty of the final outcome of court proceedings, which are often long and expensive. As opposed to court proceedings that are strictly formal, mediation takes place in informal environment in which focus is placed primarily on harmonizing the interests of both parties and articulating a mutually agreed solution, instead of on formalized procedures. Mediation can be applied to solving disputes in all areas of law.
Who is a mediator? What is the role of a mediator?
Mediators are persons that use their knowledge, skills and communication techniques to help their clients solve various conflicts that can arise from legal relations. Licensed mediators can be found on the List of Mediators of the Croatian Mediation Association and the Court List of Mediators. The law firm Ercegović is licensed to participate in mediation as a mediator and it is listed on the list of licensed mediators of the Croatian Mediation Association.
How to initiate and start mediation?
Mediation is usually initiated in order to avoid expensive, uncertain and often long-lasting court proceedings or in order to attempt to finalize court proceedings that are already in progress. Mediation is usually the best response for a relatively fast and efficient resolution of a conflict. Mediation initiated prior to court proceedings enables parties to settle their disputes without the intervention of the state, as well as to preserve the relations that may be significant for the parties and develop new relations without the loss of trust and communication. It should be noted that the parties can seek settlement of the dispute before a court at any given moment if they decide to do so. The law also provides that a court can suggest to the parties to resolve a dispute through mediation in court or out of court during proceedings. A settlement reached in a procedure conducted before a court or a licensed mediation center and in accordance with the law carries the weight of a court settlement or a final court decision.
How to initiate mediation?
Mediation is always initiated with a motion for mediation. Nevertheless, consent of both parties is required in order for mediation to be formally initiated. Prior to court proceedings, it is initiated by submitting a motion for mediation to the Mediation Centre of the Croatian Mediation Association personally or via an attorney (lawyer). In this case, after the Centre receives a motion from one party, it delivers it to the second party. The party that receives the motion for mediation has to respond within 15 days from the day of receiving the motion if the party accepts the motion. After the initiation of court proceedings and during court proceedings, mediation is initiated by a mutual motion of the parties to the court before which court proceedings are in place. In this motion, they suggest to settle the dispute through mediation before a court (procedure conducted in court) or before one of the suggested certified mediation centers.
What to expect from mediation? Are we always satisfied with the solution?
It may be necessary to point out that during mediation the mediator is not allowed under any circumstances to force the parties to reach an agreement, whether directly or indirectly. The mediator is not allowed to impose additionally binding solutions on the parties or to make decisions for any of the parties or in their name. The mediator cannot have the role of a legal advisor for any of the parties. The mediator has a neutral role in the procedure and attempts to lead the parties to an amicable solution. Sometimes parties are not sufficiently informed about all of the possibilities of mediation, and sometimes they are not aware of the possibilities and advantages of amicable solutions or how close they are to reaching one.
How does mediation end? And what if mediation does not succeed?
If mediation succeeds, the procedure is finalized by reaching a written settlement. A written settlement composed in accordance with the law and before a court has the effect of a court settlement or a final court decision. If mediation does not succeed and a settlement is not reached, the parties cannot and must not suffer any negative legal consequences of the failure of mediation. They can continue to resolve the dispute before a court by initiating court proceedings or by resuming them.
What other information about mediation is important?
You can get all other important information related to mediation by directly contacting our law firm at email@example.com or by getting direct information at most of the courts in the Republic of Croatia and competent mediation centers.