Sep 15, 2019 Last Updated 7:40 AM, Sep 11, 2019

Avoiding court?

Discover the alternative ways to settle disputes.

  1. Mediation
  2. Negotiation
  3. Collaborative Law
  4. Arbitration
  5. Chamber for Conciliation, Arbitration and Mediation in Real Estate Matters



Mediation is a process by which a neutral and 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.

The Bar participates in two separate mediation centres, one for family matters and the other for civil and commercial matters.


Family mediation

Family mediation is a method of settling disputes based on the cooperation of the spouses where an impartial third party helps them to negotiate and to settle the consequences of their split.

The Conference of French-Speaking and German-Speaking Bars has approved lawyers, specially chosen for their skills and their experience in family matters. Family mediators intervene on the request of the parties and, from their appointment, seek to obtain an undertaking on the part of the lawyers to suspend current proceedings and only to resort to protective procedures in the event of absolute necessity.

The list of members of the French-Speaking Bar in Brussels approved as family mediators is available from the Bar Secretary.

For more information:

Tel: (between 14.00 and 17.00) or Tel: 02.508.65.59

Fax: 02.508.64.53


Social mediation

Social mediation is an alternative method of settling disputes regarding work or work relations: conflicts arising from redundancy situations, conflicts relating to changes by the employer to conditions of work or functions, conflicts linked to harassment or discrimination, well-being at work, conflicts between colleagues and so on.

The French-Speaking and German-Speaking Bars are approved for the training of mediating lawyers. The non-profit-making Association of Social Law Mediation and Conciliation is approved to train mediators specialising in social matters. It includes in its training a module for “mediation advisers”, namely lawyers or union delegates who will assist the parties in mediation. Several mediating lawyers participate in the work of this Association.
The list of mediators approved by these bodies is available on their respective sites.

For more information, visit



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.



Collaborative Law is a new alternative mode of settling disputes.

These days, more and more litigants expect a solution from their counsel which meets their needs and their interests rather than a debate and a confrontation of positions before the courts, with the risk of unsuitable solutions being enforced.

In response to those expectations, new alternative modes of settling disputes have been developed.

Developed initially in the United States, it then spread to Canada and finally to Europe.

The Family Law Commission of the French-Speaking Bar in Brussels endeavoured to develop Collaborative Law.

Collaborative Law is defined as a voluntary and confidential process for settling disputes by negotiation.

This process is extremely well suited to the practice of the lawyer: it has been created by lawyers, for lawyers and their clients.

The collaboration lawyer receives an exclusive mandate from his client restricted to assisting him and to advising him, with the sole aim of finding a means of agreement.

The cornerstone of the process rests in the role of the collaboration lawyer. In fact he undertakes to advise his client from the sole viewpoint of seeking a negotiated solution.

If the process fails, the lawyers consulted can no longer continue their intervention and therefore cannot represent the interests of their clients in litigation proceedings.

Reaching an agreement is therefore the only task of collaboration lawyers, and in the event of the negotiations failing this will give rise to an obligation to withdraw.

Collaborative Law leaves no place for litigation proceedings: it in fact assumes the absence of aggressive proceedings (or the suspension of any under way) but also the absence of any threat of recourse to proceedings or any other unilateral aggressive proceedings.

Moreover, several principles underlay this process, in particular including: lawyers’ teamwork, providing evidence of the interests and needs of the two parties and children, exchanging information in good faith, confidentiality, implementing effective communication rules and so on.

Collaborative Law is a process which assumes the implementation of several well-defined stages.
At each stage of the process, the parties should actively participate and express their respective needs and interests as well as hearing those of the other party. The lawyers act as chairmen and guarantors of the process and the legality of the agreements reached.

Collaboration lawyers will help you in Family Law to:

→ negotiate respectfully in a structured way,

→ establish complete communication and exchange of information useful to settling the dispute,

→ explore the various options for amicable settlement,
→ find creative solutions responding to your needs and priorities as well as those of the children,
→ resolve family conflicts without litigation


Collaborative Law Charter
Download the PDF

Participation agreement
Download the PDf

List of lawyers trained in Collaborative Family Law
Download the PDF



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:

Tel.: 02.508.65.59

Fax.: 02.508.64.53

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).



The Bar is also a stakeholder in the CCAI (Centre De Conciliation et d'Arbitrage en Matière Immobilière), with its headquarters in Wavre, which has the aim, by virtue of the participation of lawyers and “building engineers” to assist the parties in settling their disputes concerning all real estate matter. 

Last modified on Monday, 29 July 2019 15:32
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