Mediation is a process by which a neutral an independent third party seeks to facilitate discussions between the parties (and, if necessary, their respective lawyers) with the aim of finding a solution to their dispute.
In contrast to the judge or arbitrator, the mediator never imposes his own decision on the parties, but helps them to find and to implement the best possible solution to the conflict.
In contrast to the judge but like the arbitrator, the mediator is remunerated by the parties. Mediation is organised in accordance with the Law of 21 February 2005.
Only mediations involving a mediator approved by the Federal Mediation Commission can reach an agreement likely to be ratified by the courts with the effect of a judgement.
Negotiation is an alternative way to resolve conflicts.
These may be direct negotiations between the parties, in various contexts, or negotiations involving the intervention or assistance of other persons.
This is where the lawyer can intervene, seeking a cooperative negotiation, which generally leads to an agreement in which the two parties both consider themselves the winners (a win-win situation).
The Brussels Bar has developed a "negotiation protocol" (available by clicking here). This organises the structured context for negotiation, guaranteeing the total confidentiality on the discussions held in seeking to find a negotiated solution. This protocol is signed by the parties involved and by the lawyers assisting them.
An organised form of negotiation is the “Mini-Trial”, an instrument created for businesses wishing to settle a dispute effectively and to return rapidly to normal commercial relations.
The two parties participate directly in the proceedings, each delegating a senior executive to sit as assessor in the Mini-Trial Commission which can be chaired by a lawyer, entirely independent of the parties in dispute.
Arbitration is a procedure by which a conflict is settled not by the courts but by one or more arbitrators, chosen and remunerated by the parties in dispute.
The arbitration decision is enforceable on the parties like a legal decision.
The advantages sought in arbitration are the special competence of arbitrators, the speed and the confidentiality.
Lawyers are frequently asked, in view of their skills and independence, to act as arbitrators.
If the parties so request, the President of the Bar will appoint one or more lawyers to deal with the matter.
For more information:
Lawyers are also members of the Belgian Arbitration and Mediation (“Centre d'arbitrage et de mediation” - CEPANI) created on the initiative of the Belgian Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the Belgian Business Federation (“Fédération des Entreprises de Belgique” - FEB).
bMediation is a non-profit-making association, arising from the joint initiative of the Brussels Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Brussels Bars.
bMediation offers the services of approved mediators who are skilled and qualified, with specialist training in civil and commercial mediation.