Benefits of Conciliation and Mediation vs. Litigation
If you have ever been through a litigation process, you know how time-consuming and expensive it can be. If you've ever had to do it at Costa Rica's snail speed, we share our sympathies. For a
If you have ever been through a litigation process, you know how time-consuming and expensive it can be. If you’ve ever had to do it at Costa Rica’s snail speed, we share our sympathies.
For a bit of background, the Judicial System and the Ministry of Justice and Peace have been promoting and encouraging the use of alternative dispute resolution, or more precisely mediation and conciliation, since 1998, when Law No. 7727 the Alternative Dispute Resolution and Social Peace Promotion Law was enacted.
Costa Ricans, for the most part, are still unaware of the great benefits of alternative dispute resolution outside of the courts. Several steps have had to be taken for greater recognition and acceptance of the concept of Mediation or Conciliation (which, for practical legal purposes in Costa Rica havethe same function).
The Costa Rican legal system provides us with the tools to resolve conflicts without going through a time-consuming, expensive, and traumatic legal process. However, there are some lawyers who do not see this tool as an alternative (important to remember that it is significantly less expensive for the client) and do not even suggest it to their clients.
Article 11 of the aforementioned law stipulates: “Information of the advising lawyer. The lawyer advising one or more parties to a dispute shall have the duty to inform his clients about the possibility of resorting to alternative mechanisms to solve disputes, such as mediation, conciliation and arbitration,when these may be beneficial to his client”.
This is because it is still a “culture” of Costa Rican society to go to the courts to resolve their conflicts.
Costa Rica has gone so far as to provide training to those who wish to become certified mediators or conciliators through a variety of organizations, including the Bar Association, which has a duly authorized center for alternative dispute resolution.
This is because the Mediation or Conciliation carried out by a center duly authorized by the competent authorities brings benefits such as:
∙ Quicker solved conflicts. Much quicker than if they were to be drawn out in court.
∙ Conflict resolution is less expensive than having a dispute heard in court.
∙ The deal the parties came to through the center has “the character of a sentence.”
∙ It enables the parties to settle their differences amicably.
∙ The mediator merely acts as a facilitator to help the parties, try to resolve their differences.
∙ It does not call for the participation of attorneys in the mediation (in fact, it is suggested that lawyers do not participate at all).
It is crucial to remember that, although the law permits anyone to serve as a mediator, only agreements or mediations issued by authorized centers or entities have the legal status of a sentence. In such centers, a duly certified mediator who has learned various techniques to achieve a mediation where it goes hand in hand with the corresponding cordiality will always be present. The mediation agreement can be easily enforced before the appropriate authorities or courts of justice, in the event that any of the parties fails to abide by it, because it carries the same weight as the aforementioned sentence.
As was already mentioned in the benefits section, mediation and conciliation serve to support and assist the judiciary. For example, as long as there is no violence involved in the dispute, a large number of conflicts in the commercial, civil, or labor spheres, among others, can be settled using this practical tool, reducing the volume of cases that must be processed by the courts and enhancing their effectiveness and efficiency in resolving cases that do necessitate a proper review of the judicial system.
While we hope you never find yourself in the middle of a litigation, we know things happen. If you have questions about litigation, Outlier Legal is ready to help. Contact us today.