When you run your business, there may be a dispute between you and your business partner. In most cases, such disputes relate to financial settlements, e. g. arrears in payment for goods or services rendered, but may concern almost all cases in which a dispute can be brought before a court. In such a situation, you may consider referring the matter to mediation. According to the law, mediation is voluntary and can be carried out in two ways: 1. based on an agreement between entrepreneurs or a request for mediation by one of the parties to the dispute (contractual mediation), 2. based on a court referral to mediation (court mediation). Details of court mediation can be found below.
How to handle a matter
What you should know and who can benefit from the service
Mediation is an increasingly popular way of settling disputes between entrepreneurs.
According to the law, mediation is voluntary and can take place before the commencement of a court proceedings (contractual mediation, pre-judicial mediation or out-of-court mediation).
If your case is brought before a court, the court that deals with your case is referring to mediation. Remember that if your case is already in court, you have the right to request mediation at any stage of the proceedings. You can do this e. g. verbally during the hearing in court or in writing. The request for referral to mediation does not take any particular form. It is sufficient to identify the parties to the proceedings and the file signature for which the case is pending in court.
Where you can handle the matter
Court mediation takes place before the court that is conducting your case at first instance.
What to do step by step
Referral to mediation
One of the tasks of the court that investigates your case is to instruct the parties to settle the dispute amicably, in particular by mediation. The court may refer the parties to mediation at any stage of the case. Even before the first meeting, the chairman shall assess whether to refer the parties to mediation. For this purpose, the Chair may either hear the parties or invite them to attend a public meeting. In addition, the chairperson may invite parties to an information meeting on amicable dispute resolution methods (including mediation).
The decision referring the parties to mediation may be made at a closed session. Mediation shall not take place if the party has not consented to mediation within one week from the date of announcement or service of the order referring the parties to mediation.
If the parties themselves have not chosen a mediator, the court, by referring the parties to mediation, shall appoint a mediator with appropriate knowledge and skills to mediate in matters similar to those between the parties.
You will receive a document as:
The mediator has the right to acquaint himself/herself with the case files, unless the party does not agree to this acquaintance within one week from the decision referring to mediation.
As soon as the parties have been referred to mediation, the chairman shall notify the mediator without delay of the parties' contact details and their representatives, in particular the telephone numbers and e-mail addresses, if any.
The mediator shall determine the date and place of the mediation meeting. This is not necessary if the parties agree to conduct mediation without a mediation meeting.
Mediator conducts mediation by various methods, which aim at amicable settlement of the dispute. The mediator may assist the parties, e. g. in the establishment of settlement rules, or at the request of the parties may indicate ways to resolve the dispute.
The mediator who will conduct your mediation should remain impartial. Mediation proceedings shall not be open to the public. The mediator, parties and other persons who take part in the mediation must keep secret the facts that have come to their knowledge during the mediation.
The mediator shall draw up a protocol of the mediation
The protocol shall state the place and time of mediation, the name and address of the parties, the name and address of the mediator and the outcome of the mediation. The protocol shall be signed by the mediator. If the participants in the mediation have entered into an agreement, it shall be recorded in the protocol or attached to the protocol. The parties must sign the agreement. The signing of the settlement agreement shall signify the consent to submit a request for its approval to the court. The mediator shall also be obliged to serve a copy of the protocol to the parties.
You will receive a document as:
Court approval of the settlement
The mediator, after the protocol has been drawn up, submits it to the court dealing with the case. If a settlement has been reached, the court shall, upon request of the party concerned, approve it without delay. If the agreement is to be enforced by way of execution, the court shall approve it by granting it an enforceability clause. In other cases, the court will approve the settlement by order. In both cases, the court may make a decision in closed session.
The court may refuse to enforce or approve the agreement. This will be the case if the settlement agreement is contrary to law or rules of social coexistence or is aimed at circumventing the law and if it is incomprehensible or contradictory.
The settlement concluded before the mediator, after its approval by the court, shall have legal force of the settlement concluded before the court. The agreement concluded before the mediator, which has been approved by granting it a declaration of enforceability, is an enforceable title, which means that an application may be filed with this document with the bailiff for enforcement.
How much will you pay
The mediator is entitled to remuneration and reimbursement of mediation expenses, unless he has agreed to mediate without remuneration. Remuneration and reimbursement of expenses shall be borne by the parties.
In matters concerning property rights (e. g. payment of money), the mediator's remuneration amounts to 1% of the value of the dispute subject matter, however, not less than PLN 150 and not more than PLN 2000 for the entire mediation proceeding. In matters of property rights, in which values cannot be determined, and in matters of nonproperty rights (e. g. protection of personal rights), the mediator's remuneration for conducting mediation is PLN 150 for the first meeting, and for each subsequent meeting - PLN 100, in total not more than PLN 450.
The mediator shall be entitled to reimbursement of expenses in connection with mediation:
- rental of the premises necessary to conduct a mediation meeting, in the amount not exceeding PLN 70 for one meeting;
- correspondence, in the amount not exceeding PLN 30.00.
If the parties do not appear on the mediation, the mediator is entitled to a refund of expenses incurred in the amount not exceeding PLN 70.
Note! If the mediation was conducted after the court referred and it finishes with a settlement, the parties are exempt from fees.
How long will you wait
If your case has been referred to mediation by a court, it will determine its duration - up to a maximum of three months. At the parties' joint request or for other compelling reasons, the time limit for mediation may be extended if this would favour an amicable settlement.
How can you appeal
You can lodge a complaint to the court of second instance for the approval of an agreement concluded before a mediator.