The introduction of mediation to the Greek modern legal system occurred via Law No. 3898/2010, as required by the E.U. Directive No. 2008/52/EC. This law and its complementary acts (Ministerial Decision No. 109088/2011) adopted a facilitative mediation model and established high standards for mediation services and mediation training. Mediation was further introduced in the Civil Procedure Code (Article 214 C). Despite legislative initiatives, recent financial difficulties experienced by the Greek economy proved to be a challenging context for the development of modern mediation in civil and commercial cases.
As in other E.U. countries, a new Mediation Law, No. 4512/2018, entered into force on January 1, 2018. This law includes various provisions to promote mediation, including making mediation a mandatory initial step for parties in particular categories of cases and requires a mandatory informational meeting between the mediator, the parties and their lawyers. It does not, however, establish an obligation to use mediation after the end of the meeting, if the parties so decide. A recent advisory Greek Supreme Court decision declared the provision on mandatory mediation unconstitutional, and amendments to Law No. 4512/2018 are anticipated. However, these amendments are not expected to derail the future of mediation in Greece and its further development.
Mediation efforts by pioneers in the field have educated many legal professionals who are now familiar with the mediation process. There are currently over 900 certified mediation advocates in Greece, lawyers who are trained in the representation of parties in mediation. Mediation advocates, Greek and foreign companies based in Greece, have begun to systematically use mediation, resulting in high settlement rates.
A well-known Greek proverb captures the development of mediation in Greece: “A river flows only in one direction, and does not return to its source” (Το ποτάμι πίσω δεν γυρνάει).
By Spyros Antonelos, Senior Fellow-Greece, Weinstein International Foundation