Our office has been operating since January 2019 as a Mediation Center for an out-of-court settlement, or alternative dispute resolution (ADR), of civil and commercial disputes involving individuals, groups or companies, located in Greece or abroad (cross-border disputes).
The mediation process takes place in a manner which respects confidentiality. This is a structured process, whereby two or more parties to a dispute attempt by themselves, voluntarily, to reach an agreement on the settlement of their dispute with the assistance of a mediator (i.e. a third impartial and independent person).
A settlement allows for certainty as you eliminate the chances of losing in civil court. A settlement also allows you to save time and expense and also avoid publicity that goes along with a court case. Agreements resulting from mediation are more likely to be complied with voluntary and more likely to preserve an amicable and sustainable relationship between the parties.
The mediation process in Greece can apply only to civil and commercial matters, except those regarding rights and obligations which the parties do not possess under the Greek Law. In particular, it cannot extend to administrative and fiscal matters, to the liability of the Greek State for acts and omissions in the exercise of State authority. Indicatively, it can extend to family law matters (apart from divorce, marriage annulment, parent-child relationship as for example the recognition of paternity, etc.), labor disputes, neighbourhood disputes, disputes over the non-performance of contract terms, claims for all kind of damages, as those provoked by car or labor accidents, by medical malpractice, etc. and all kind of commercial law matters.
In Greece, the recourse to the mediation process is not mandatory. However, in cases where the object of the dispute exceeds the amount of €30,000.00, in family law matters as well as in those cases where there is a mediation clause in a private agreement between the parties, there is a mandatory stage of at least one information session and meeting to be attended by the parties with their lawyers before the mediator, in order to examine whether their specific dispute can be resolved through mediation. This meeting is called the Compulsory Initial Session (CIS) and must take place no later than the hearing of the case in court.
At the end of the mediation process, the mediator draws up a report on whether or not an agreement was reached by the parties. The attorneys of the parties have a decisive role to play in the mediation process. They provide their clients with legal advice, assist them throughout the process and draw up a final agreement reached by the parties.
The minutes of the agreement shall be signed by all participants in the proceedings and may be submitted to the Secretariat of the competent Court of First Instance by any of the parties, so that it may be enforceable under the terms of the law.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to settle every civil claim. If you are not able to reach a settlement, your case will go to court and you will need to be able to prove your claim if you are the plaintiff or to successfully prevent the plaintiff from proving a claim if you are a defendant. If you choose mediation in an attempt to settle your dispute you are not prevented from initiating judicial proceedings or arbitration in relation to that dispute by the expiry of limitation or prescribed periods during the mediation process. You do not incur the risk of losing your rights, in case you do not find an agreement!