In order to deal with the current economic crisis and it’s impact on commerce and the legal structure as a whole, Greece passed a new law in January 2018 which effectively makes mediation mandatory across seven areas of law – including family law.
The Legal system in Greece is in a state of crisis, with cases facing serious delays in finding resolution. Funds aren’t readily available for court battles and in the meantime those trapped in disputes find their businesses and family lives in a devastating state of limbo.
As part of the ongoing support package, the European Union has stepped in to insist mediation becomes a compulsory part of the legal system. It is well documented that mediation presents a quicker and cheaper means of resolving disputes. Indeed, Civil Mediation is already widely used in Greece, however the concept of family mediation is a relatively new one.
Greece now faces the challenge of training enough family mediators to meet with demand, when the act comes into force in September 2018.
In May 2018, Nicola Crowther of Crowther Mediation, was approved by the Greek Bar Council, in line with Eu regulations, as the only mediator in the UK to deliver this first wave of training.
As an elected board member of the Family Mediation Association, Nicola takes an active role in shaping the mediation model used in the UK. It is now accepted the UK mediation model represents best practice and is adopted globally. Nicola had the privilege of teaching twenty seven Greek lawyers in Thessaloniki, the family mediation model she has helped to develop.
Of course training on this scale is not without it’s challenges….. Normally foundation training in the UK is limited to approx. twelve delegates and takes place over eight days of training across three months. Unfortunately, Greek residents cannot afford to take that much time off work. This skills course was delivered over two very long days. Fortunately, all delegates were trained and practising Civil Mediators with a good basic knowledge of mediation and it’s principles. None the less the success of this training was in no small part to their focused determination to learn and their incredible stamina!!
Of course the fantastic team of interpreters cannot go without mention along with the help and support of staff at the International Institute of Dispute Resolution in Thessaloniki.
Nicola will be undertaking more training courses throughout Greece in the winter months, when the temperature is a little more bearable!
In the meantime several other countries look set to make mediation mandatory as a quicker and cheaper means of resolving disputes, including Libya, Malawi, Morocco and Mauritius.