October 21, 2017

Can mediation take hold in Europe?

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Hoah Hanft

Hoah Hanft, President and CEO, CPR

By Ellen Hayes

While not as litigious as the United States, Europe has seen an increase in civil litigation and long logjams when to it comes to resolving business disputes, both factors that have ADR proponents firmly believing that arbitration, and now mediation, can be adopted on a much larger scale than previously seen.

On that note, The International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR) recently released its first-ever European Mediation & ADR Guide, which lays out just that approach.

Developed under the leadership of CPR’s European Advisory Board (EAB), a group made up of practitioners and in-house users from Europe’s leading law firms and corporations, the guide is aimed at corporates operating in Europe and beyond to assist them in understanding and taking full advantage of the range of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes available to them, according to CPR.

“In-house lawyers in the U.S. recognize the importance of ADR and there is a growing desire for even greater utilization of it. It is also evolving in Europe,“ said President & CEO of CPR, and the former General Counsel of MasterCard. He said Europeans are finding better ways to streamline disputes and added it has led to a big push in establishing ADR clauses in contracts.

Hanft himself visits Europe frequently to provide what he described as practical information. “I believe mediation is going to be an increasingly major force in resolving disputes,” he said.

According to Hanft, the EAB Mediation & ADR Guide provides, for the first time, a valuable overview of the most widely used processes (particularly in the area of mediation) and when they might be suitable, with practical suggestions on how to make use of them.

Compiling links to an extensive range of additional materials and practical resources for more in-depth information, the guide also incorporates a brief introduction to arbitration. Over the next few months, the Guide will be translated into several languages.

Hanft was quick to point out that because of variations among the national laws of the European Union Member States, the guide does not provide legal advice on using ADR processes. Instead users are advised to seek legal counsel in the appropriate jurisdiction(s) on their particular circumstances, Hanft said.

“CPR is committed to being the leading independent resource in Europe helping businesses and their legal advisers resolve commercial disputes more efficiently and cost effectively, while preserving and enhancing their business relationships,” said Hanft. “To that end, our hope and expectation is for the EAB Mediation & ADR Guide to become the go-to dispute resolution resource for legal and business professionals in Europe.”

“Most companies are beginning to realize the value of a thoughtful approach to resolving disputes,” Hanft said. He added that companies could now resolve issues early on or, better still, put processes in place to prevent the disputes from happening in the first place.

The EAB’s efforts to produce the guide were led by Isabelle Robinet-Muguet of telecom giant Orange and Alexander J. Oddy of Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, with support from Jürgen Klowait, Attorney at Law & Mediator; Clifford J. Hendel, Araoz & Rueda Abogados; Birgit Sambeth Glasner, Altenburger; Teresa Giovannini, Lalive; Javier Samaniego, Bird & Bird; and Mr. Hanft and Olivier P. André, CPR.

“It has been a long term ambition to develop a user-friendly resource for a European audience to promote mediation and CPR’s resources,” said Oddy. “The European Mediation Guide is the product of genuine collaboration among leading European in-house counsel and external counsel. Above all, the Guide is focused on helping corporates understand the benefits mediation has to offer, as well as how to use mediation effectively to resolve commercial disputes and access online a wealth of other material to assist.”

“This is the must-have guide for every in-house counsel regarding Alternative Dispute Resolution,” said Ms. Robinet-Muguet. “It introduces ADR to the practitioner, increases familiarity with mediation and other ADR processes, and provides advice on each stage of the process, from contract negotiation to building the contractual relationship to conflict resolution: everything in-house counsel, particularly transactional lawyers, need to anticipate and successfully resolve conflicts through ADR.”

“With mediation on the rise internationally, CPR’s European Advisory Board has produced the definitive guide to mediation and other forms of ADR,” said Jean-Claude Najar, International Counsel, Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP. “This is an invaluable, user-friendly toolkit for every corporate counsel and practitioner wanting to use mediation and other forms of ADR.”

CPR’s European Advisory Board develops resources, shares knowledge and best practices, and collaborates in joint initiatives and activities with other European stakeholders and institutions, all in conformity with the applicable legal, regulatory, and ethical environment. Critically, the EAB provides a forum for in-house counsel to network and exchange ideas and experiences with their peers and with leading practitioners across Europe.

About CPR

CPR is an independent nonprofit organization that, for more than 35 years, has helped global businesses prevent and resolve commercial disputes effectively and efficiently. Our membership consists of top corporations and law firms, academic and government institutions, and leading mediators and arbitrators around the world. CPR is unique as: (1) a thought leader, driving a global dispute resolution culture; (2) a developer of cutting-edge tools and resources, powered by the collective innovation of its membership; and (3) an ADR provider offering innovative, practical arbitration rules, mediation and other dispute resolution procedures, and neutrals worldwide. For more information, please visit www.cpradr.org.

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