Mediation is a voluntary process that parties can agree to settle their dispute away from the constraints of Court or Arbitration. It allows parties a greater flexibility to settle a case by focussing on commercial aspects of the dispute rather than the legal issues.
We have vast experience in representing clients in mediations and have seen that, if the parties have the right mindset, mediation can provide a quick and cost effective mechanism for resolving cases of all levels of complexity.
One of the key issues previously facing mediations in the UAE was the lack of confidentiality.
The new UAE Mediation Law, introduced in April this year, offers parties with a confidential framework to settle their disputes through mediation. The Law requires that mediations are confidential, and that all information submitted by the parties during the mediation is not to be used before any Court and any information in connection with the process can only be released on approval of the parties.
Under the Law, parties can either engage in a mediation with the Court’s assistance or by agreeing that their dispute is to be decided by a particular mediator.
(i) Mediation through the Court: the parties can at any point in their litigation agree to refer the dispute to mediation. Where the parties agree, the Court will appoint a mediator. The mediation is not to exceed three months and this period can only be extended once with the approval of the Court.
(ii) Mediation out of Court: Where the parties agree to refer their dispute to a particular mediator, the Court will refer the mediation to a mediation center which would notify the mediator of the referral.
Two issues that parties should consider in view of the Law and get immediate legal advice on:
(i) Whether their mediation agreement is subject to the Law and if so, whether the information exchanged by the parties will be confidential under the Law; and
(ii) Whether their mediation agreement is valid under the Law.