International Conference on Future of Online Mediation

NW 11:53:31 16-11-2018

International Conference
on Future
of Online Mediation

Sofia, November 16 (BTA) - Seventy per cent of entrepreneurs are ready to use mediation in dispute resolution.

Opening an international conference on online mediation and the future of online dispute resolution, Blagovest Pounev, President of the Arbitration Court with the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), said: "Regretfully, despite the presence of good conditions for mediation in this country, the practice is still little used in the resolution of commercial disputes."

The event is organized by the BCCI and the Law and Internet Foundation.

National Ombudsman Maya Manolova said that despite the presence of the Mediation Act which has existed for about 20 years now, the practice needs boosting. Manolova said she had suggested to several successive justice ministers to introduce mandatory mediation for certain types of disputes, mainly family and neighbour disputes and disputes with low financial interest, as well as waiver of court fees in mediation-resolved disputes.

A Bulgarian-English electronic platform for the resolution of commercial disputes, including cross-border ones, was presented at the forum. The platform has been created as part of a EU project for online mediation under the Justice Programme. The platform makes it possible to hold meetings with a mediator, exchange messages in real time, hold conference calls, exchange documents, and electronically sign an agreement at the end of the mediation. The online mediation will be performed by mediators of the Mediation Centre with the BCCI's Arbitration Court.

Seventy per cent of polled entrepreneurs are ready to use mediation in disputes with partners and contractors. More than half of them, mostly in the under-40 age group, said they would resort to online dispute resolution if the necessary instruments were available.

Both mediation and arbitration save time and money, but it is only mediation that gives the parties control over the procedure; it is voluntary and it is up to them to decide how long it takes (within a six-month time frame). The parties can maintain their relations because the information shared during mediation is confidential.

This project is funded by the European Union's Justice Programme (2014-2020). The content of this text does not reflect the official opinion of the European Union.