The new Civil Procedure Rules interpret “Alternative Dispute Resolution” as: “the procedure for settling disputes, including negotiation, mediation or arbitration, without recourse to the court”. The purpose of pre-trial protocols is to prevent the parties from going to Court.
In September 2023, the new civil procedure rules come in force. Based on the interpretative provisions of the rules, “alternative dispute resolution” means “the procedure for settling disputes, including negotiation, mediation or arbitration, without recourse to the court”.
The new civil procedure rules provide for the procedure to be followed in case the particular dispute is covered by a pre-action protocol and in cases where it is not covered by such a protocol. Also, according to the rules, the court promotes the primary purpose of the rules by actively managing cases. Active management includes among others:
“…encouraging the parties to use an Alternative Dispute Resolution process, if the court deems it appropriate, and facilitating the use of such a process”
Cases covered by the pre-action protocol:
The purpose of pre-action protocols is, among other things, to promote pre-action communication between the parties and to prevent the parties from going to court by allowing them to settle the claim before the initiation of court proceedings.
Cases covered by the pre-action protocol are listed in Annex I of the new Rules and concern claims for a specific amount of money as well as traffic accidents and personal injury claims.
Cases not covered by the pre-action protocol:
In cases not covered by the pre-action protocol, the parties must act reasonably in relation to the exchange of information and documents relevant to the claim and generally to avoid litigation. Also, the parties in such a case must follow a reasonable procedure, the purpose of which is to avoid the judicial process as listed in Form III of Appendix I.
Based on this procedure, the Claimant should send a letter of demand which includes, amongst other things, a statement of whether it “wishes to participate in mediation or other alternative dispute resolution method“. In its response, the proposed Defendant, in the event that it does not accept the Claimant’s demand, should state “whether it is prepared to participate in mediation or other alternative dispute resolution method“.
Registration and execution of a settlement agreement.
Section III of Part 45 contains how to register and enforce a settlement agreement or otherwise a “mediation settlement agreement”. In the event that the parties wish to request the execution of a mediation settlement agreement, the parties shall apply to the Court depending on whether there is an ongoing judicial process in the Republic or not.
In the application or in the claim form, the express consent of the other party as well as the mediation settlement agreement (preferably in the Greek language) must be attached and the court may declare all or part of the mediation settlement agreement to be enforceable in the same way as a judgment is executed except where the agreement is void or contrary to law or where express consent has not been given.
The application for registration and enforcement is heard without a hearing.
When a person requests disclosure or inspection of evidence in mediation or wishes to call a mediator or mediation administrator as a witness, an application must be filed in the court. The mediator or mediation administrator should be made a party to the claim. Evidence in support of application, must include evidence that:
- All parties to the mediation agree to the disclosure or inspection of mediation evidence;
- Disclosure or inspection of the mediation evidence is necessary for imperative reasons of public order;
- Disclosure or inspection of the mediation settlement agreement is necessary to implement or enforce the mediation settlement agreement.
Stay of Proceedings for Settlement Purposes
According to the new rules, a party may, when registering a completed questionnaire of directions, make a written request for a stay of the procedure while the parties make efforts to settle the case through alternative dispute resolution or other means. If all parties request a stay, the proceedings are stayed for a period of up to three months and the claimant informs the court if a settlement is reached.