An International Webinar was organized by School of Law, IMS Unison University, on the theme “Mediation: Procedure and Practices in Common Law and Civil Law Countries”. This theme was chosen after much deliberation on the changing dynamics of alternate dispute resolution in the present times. The Patron of the event were Prof. Gautam Sinha, Honorable Vice Chancellor, IMS Unison University, Dehradun. The event was organized and executed under the convenorship of Prof. R.N. Sharma, Dean, School of Law, IMS Unison University. We were very fortunate to have with us, Ms. Despina Mavridou, Mediator, Greece, as our keynote speaker, who graced the occasion with her insightful views on this nascent topic. She emphasized on merits of mediation such as control on outcome, confidential, preserving relationships, being informal in nature, time and cost effective. She further discussed the mediation procedure in terms of private and common sessions. Wherein in private sessions parties are more willing to share information, builds trust with parties and testing reality. Whereas, in common sessions it facilitates communication between the parties, it being impartial and cultivates the ground for collaboration. She further discussed mediation as a choice to resolve a dispute in civil law countries with reference to European Directive 2008/52/EC. It is a compilation for examining the application of the mediation directive in the member states as well as its relationship with both judicial proceeding and other forms of alternative and online dispute resolution. She delved into the European Union Paradox which basically says that mediation being universally praised and promoted, but still used in less than 1 percent of the cases in civil and commercial litigation in the EU. It grows disturbingly bigger as official data and multiple studies have clearly shown that the best way, if not the only one, to increase significantly the number of mediated disputes is to require that litigants make a serious and reasonable initial effort at mediation. Subsequently, she explained the Opt Out Model. It was initially followed by Italy but now it is catching on internationally. In addition, the Law follows the so-called opt-out mediation model by requiring attendance at an initial mediation session before bringing an action concerning family, labor and business disputes. During the initial mediation session, the parties should decide whether they want to attend the subsequent mediation sessions. Lastly, while discussing the differences between mediation process in civil law and common law countries pointed out that in common law countries a former judge can become a mediator, settlement agreement is enforceable as any other legally binding contract and courts promote and send cases to mediator for mediation. Whereas in civil law countries a former judge cannot become a mediator, the settlement agreement should be submitted to the court in order to be considered and to make it as enforceable title and it is not very common for court to send a case to mediation.
The Moderators of the webinar were Mr. Hardik Daga and Mr. Kshitij Kumar Rai, Assistant Professors, School of Law, IMS Unison University, Dehradun.