The Lower Chamber of the Czech Parliament had approved the long-awaited proposal of the mediation act, which represents the transposition of the Directive of the EU Parliament and the Council 2008/52/EC dated 21 May 2008. The proposal is now being discussed in the Senate and in case its journey through the Czech legislative process will be successful, i.e. if approved by the Senate and signed by the President, it should become effective as of 1June 2012.

The statutory regulation of mediation, as an alternative method for solving civil disputes outside the scope of the ordinary court proceedings, had been absent from the Czech legal system.

The proposed mediation act shall not regulate the whole scope of the mediation activities within the civil and other non-criminal matters, but only mediation activities carried out by mediators registered in the list of mediators maintained by the Czech Ministry of Justice. In order to be registered as a mediator, the applicant must, inter alia, successfully complete a professional exam.

Only mediation held with the help of the above described registered mediators will have legal consequences such as the suspension of the run of limitation or preclusion period.

The role of the mediator in the mediation process is to help to the parties to reach a mutually acceptable agreement by using special practices and methods. The mediation allows the parties to solve their dispute by themselves. The mediator does not act as a judge or negotiator, but leads the parties so they are able to assess all aspects and consequences of their dispute and find a suitable conflict solution.

The aim of the mediation is not to find the “villain”, but to find a satisfactory solution for the parties involved in the dispute. Although at the beginning of the mediation most parties are strongly set in their positions, the experience and foreign statistics show, that 75% of all mediations end by an agreement of the parties and 98% of such mediation agreements are dully and voluntarily performed by the parties.

Mediation is a highly successful method particularly in commercial disputes, where the parties are interested in finding a fast solution to their problem, in situations when an effective and financially non-demanding proceeding is being sought, in highly confidential matters and in cases where a future cooperation of the parties (regardless of the existing dispute) is expected (such as joint shareholders, co-owners of property, project partners, etc.). Mediation is also suitable in cases where the parties cannot anticipate a court decision, which must follow the principals of material and procedural law, not just the common equity, interests and needs of the parties.

We believe that mediation will become a widely used instrument in the Czech Republic, which will help Czech entrepreneurs and other parties, swiftly and without any significant costs, to overcome any emerging disputes, conflicts, periods of uncertainty and to concentrate their energy and funds to develop their business and private activities.

Michaela Fuchsova