Rather than taking legal action, why not resolve a dispute through mediation? This is an alternative form of dispute resolution in which a mediator helps the parties to reach agreement. In Belgium the Government and the professionals recognise the benefits of mediation.
The Federal Mediation Commission.
While it does not itself conduct any mediation, the Federal Commission regulates the profession and keeps an updated list of accredited mediators.
The Federal Mediation Commission guarantees (through mediator accreditation) the quality and development of mediation.
Mediation is admissible in:
The most frequent area of mediation is civil law, and more specifically family matters.
Recourse to mediation is a voluntary choice by the parties, and there is no penalty if it fails.
Under the recent provisions of family law, the judge is required to inform the parties of the existence and potential of mediation.
This part of the Internet site outlines the accreditation criteria and training requirements for mediators.
The Federal Mediation Commission has regulated mediator training but training itself is provided by the private sector.
The programme comprises a common core of 60 hours, divided into at least 25 hours of theoretical training and at least 25 hours of practical training.
In addition to this common core, there are programmes specific to each type of mediation (at least 30 hours, freely divided between theoretical and practical training time).
There are specific programmes in family, civil and commercial, and community mediation.
Training criteria/continuing training
Code of Conduct
Handling of complaints
Mediation is not free of charge. The mediator’s fees are agreed between the private mediator and the parties. The law does not regulate them. Generally, each party pays half of the fees.
It is possible for a party to obtain aid to pay a mediator’s fees if that party’s income is modest and provided that the mediator is accredited.
According to European Directive 2008/52/EC, it must be possible to request that a written agreement resulting from mediation be enforced. The Member States indicate which courts or other authorities are competent to receive such requests. Belgium has not yet provided this information.
However, in conformity with Articles 1733 and 1736 of the Judicial Code, it is possible to have the mediation agreement approved by a judge, which makes such an agreement authentic and enforceable. In terms of form, the agreement then becomes a judgement.
There is an alternative to approval. It is possible to have the mediation agreement made into a notarial instrument by a notary. In this way the agreement is also made authentic and enforceable without recourse to a judge. This option is only possible with the agreement of all of the parties.
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