Cyprus is in conformity with European Directive 2008/52/EC on certain aspects of mediation in civil and commercial matters, which provides for the resolution of a dispute with the assistance of a mediator, including referal of the dispute by the court to mediation. The law gives the definition of a “civil dispute” as every dispute which can be the object of a civil procedure. “Mediation” means a process, however named or referred to, whereby two or more parties to a dispute attempt by themselves, on a voluntary basis, to reach an agreement with the help of a mediator, excluding attempts made by the court to settle the dispute. The law applies to civil and commercial matters, including employment and cross-border disputes.
Mediation can take place at any time, even in the framework of court proceedings and is conducted by a person who is a registered mediator for the whole or part of the dispute. The parties shall agree to refer their dispute in mediation and to choose the mediator by consent. However, if the parties do not agree as to the mediator, the mediation does not take place. On the other hand, the mediator may refuse his appointment without giving any reason. Furthermore, the law provides for reference of the dispute in mediation by the court in judicial proceedings, the object of which falls under the ambit of the law. The court may at any stage of the proceedings before the issue of its judgment (a) invite the parties to use mediation to settle the dispute, (b) invite the parties to attend an information session on the use of mediation, or (c) on the application by all parties or any one of them with the expressed consent of the others, decide to adjourn the judicial proceedings so that mediation can take place, the duration of which cannot be longer than three months. After the lapse of the aforesaid period, the parties inform the court of the procedure followed and the outcome of the mediation and in the event they haven’t reached an agreement for settlement, they may request an extension for another period not exceeding three months. However, when any of the parties does not agree to the referal of the dispute to mediation the court proceeds with the case.
Before the commencement of the mediation procedure, the parties agree in communication with the mediator the manner in which the mediation will be conducted and its duration, the obligation for confidentiality, the mediator’s fee and terms of payment and any other issue they deem necessary. The parties have the right to terminate the mediation procedure at any time they wish.
According the law, mediation is terminated upon the parties reaching a settlement agreement, or with the drafting of minutes that no agreement is reached, or through an agreement of the parties for its termination, or if one of the parties ceases to consent to its continuation, or if the mediator decides that the continuation of the mediation became unnecessary or impossible or if he is of the opinion that the upcoming settlement of the dispute will not be accepted by the court. In the event of the parties reaching an agreement for the settlement of the dispute partly or as a whole, the mediator drafts a written agreement which must be signed by him and the parties. Any application for the enforcement of the settlement agreement can be filed before the court by all the parties or any one of them with the expressed consent of the others and the court can issue a judgment in this respect or it may dismiss the application if the contents of the agreement are contrary to the law.
George Coucounis is a lawyer specializing in the Immovable Property Law, based in Larnaca, Tel: 24 818288, [email protected], www.coucounislaw.com