Did you know that the new Mediation Rules of the Finland Chamber of Commerce entered into force on June 1, 2016? Do you know what mediation means in practice?
Mediation is a voluntary method of settling disputes amicably with the assistance of a neutral third party, the mediator(s). In most cases, only one mediator will be appointed but nothing prevents the parties from appointing more if the circumstances justify it. Mediation is confidential, it is more flexible than courts or arbitration proceedings on how the matter can be resolved (think solutions beyond a monetary award), it does not burn bridges like a full-blown litigation might and it is faster and cheaper than traditional proceedings. What is there not to like?
The mediator will not take side nor will he/she rule on the case. The mediator will assist the parties in finding a solution which satisfies both sides. Having a solution which was crafted by the parties themselves will also ensure better compliance once the process is over.
The parties can provide for mediation in their contract but they can also opt for mediation afterwards, even after the initiation of proceedings. If proceedings are ongoing, I would recommend for them to be stayed not to impair the parties’ chance at a fruitful mediation. I would also recommend to have the right persons at the mediation table: someone who understands the case and has the authority to agree on a solution but who is not too close to the heart of the dispute in order to avoid pride or conflict of interest detrimentally affecting the chance of a resolution.