Introduction of mediation as an alternative form of conflict resolution in the Catalan civil code.

Introduction of mediation as an alternative form of conflict resolution in the Catalan civil code.

Due to the lack of information and the lack of knowledge about the so-called alternative dispute resolution systems, most disputes are resolved through the courts. The Catalan government, with the intention of changing this custom, has reformed the Catalan civil code by promoting mediation, especially in the family sphere.

The Parliament of Catalonia has reformed the second book of the Catalan Civil Code (Law 25/2010, of 29 July, of the second book of the Catalan Civil Code, relating to the person and the family) in order to promote mediation and the other systems of alternative conflict resolution and to prevent the lack of information and ignorance of these incline the parties and professionals to resort to the judicial process.

According to a report by the European Commission, mediation is generally best applied in civil and commercial proceedings, but it is in the family sphere that it is most successful. However, due to the low awareness of this alternative procedure, even among legal professionals, its use has so far been very limited, almost residual.

The legal reform thus takes up the recommendations of various institutions such as the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union and the General Council of the Judiciary to give more opportunities to the parties to opt for mediation before going to court. Likewise, compared to the judicial procedure, mediation entails a saving in time, an economic saving and a reduction in emotional costs. Another positive point is that this procedure involves and makes both parties more responsible, thus increasing the efficiency of the implementation of the agreements adopted.

The reform aims to promote mediation in the field of family conflicts, especially those affecting minors, by making a prior session on mediation obligatory. In this previous session the parties are informed of the functioning, characteristics and benefits of this procedure, so that they can freely analyse and establish whether they wish to initiate this procedure.

In the event that judicial proceedings have already been initiated, the reform also provides for the possibility that the judicial authority, on its own initiative or at the request of one of the parties, may refer the parties to a preliminary session.

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