On 25th November 2014, a conference was held by the Cultural Association of Les Corts in Barcelona on ´The Process of Mediation between Parties: Advantages over Litigation´. The conference was chaired by José Martos Vallecillos, Vice President of the Association of Mediation Quality and Partner of ILV SILVER.

After an introduction to Mediation, and its regulation in different countries, with a particular focus on Europe and Catalonia, the Conference Chair expressed his optimism about this method of conflict resolution, as it is a process whose regulation is relatively recent and which complements both businesses and legal proceedings which are based, for the most part, on historical regulations based on Roman Law.

José Martos, Bachelor of Information Sciences and a Lawyer since 1983, is a Mediator, Insolvency Administrator and Insolvency Mediator at ILV SILVER, and has spent the majority of his professional career in public and private companies in the financial sector, in Barcelona, Madrid and Santiago de Chile. It is his experience in the business world that has led him to see Mediation as an authentic method of conflict resolution.

Confidentiality, efficiency and the possibility of making executive agreements, together with the growing need to manage reputation, both personal and corporate, is making Mediation more than just an alternative to a traditional court order.

Another great advantage of Mediation over judicial procedures, is the possibility of it being carried out through electronic means: via video-conference, email and Internet messenger, provided that the participants signatures can be certified and that confidentiality is guaranteed. It is, therefore, a process which has yet to be established fully, but is certainly one which yields enormous potential and which, as soon as it is becomes more recognised in society and in business, will make conflict resolution for both individuals and corporate entities more economical.

Reduced time and cost, both public and private, the use of technology, the increased success rate in reaching an agreement, the elimination of winners and losers and the maintenance of the relationship between the parties, are all factors which guarantee the future of Mediation.

One of the studies commented on by the Chair was one published by the European Parliament in the same year, entitled “REBOOTING THE MEDIATION DIRECTIVE: ASSESSING THE LIMITED IMPACT OF ITS IMPLEMENTATION AND PROPOSING MEASURES TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF MEDIATIONS IN THE EU”, which describes the evolution of Mediation in Europe as “disappointing” and therefore concludes that Mediation, in order to be promoted, should be included in the litigation process “map”, as Italy has already done so.

He then shared data which ought to persuade the legislative powers to make decisions, such as the average price of litigation in Spain (8,015€) compared to the average cost of Mediation (1,833€), the average duration of litigation (510 days) compared to that of Mediation (50 days), and that, every year, due to the extent of court congestion, in civil cases alone there are more than a million cases pending resolution in the following year.

José Martos commented on the approval of the Government of Catalonia, on 28th October 2014, of a report published by the Department of Justice, in which, amongst others, the following objectives are established: to favour cultural change, to obtain a balance in the % of conflicts resolved through Mediation and to implement Mediation in various spheres though new legislation and an update of existing legislation.

He concluded by providing a practical example of Mediation, in which it was shown that a Mediation agreement, as compared to litigation, provides a greater level of satisfaction between the Parties, a quicker and more economical process, a high level of compliance with the agreements reached, confidentiality over the conflict, which preserves reputational risk, and a continuity of relations.