Constantin Adi Gavrilă is a well known Romanian mediator and mediation trainer, co-founder and general manager of the Craiova Mediation Center Association, first president of the Romanian Mediation Centers Union and first vice-president of the Romanian Mediation Council.
The law clarified the definition and the place of mediation within conflict resolution, the role and obligations of mediators, how can one access the mediation services and who can act as a mediator. It included provisions for the type of cases that can be mediated, including commercial and family disputes, penal matters and labor conflicts.
Parties can voluntarily choose to mediate, but all judicial bodies must inform parties about the mediation process and its advantages and recommend its use.
Mediators in Romania do not have to possess law degrees in order to receive accredidation, which is adminstered by the Romanian Mediation Council. However, there are many requirements for accreditation and the process is strict. A minimum of 80 training hours are required and at least 75 percent must be spent in practical circumstances, such as role-playing and other experiential exercises. Once accredited, authorized mediators are publicly listed on the Panel of Mediators published in the Romanian Official Journal, on the Mediation Council website and on a list distributed to all courts.
Parties may jointly request mediation, or one side may file independently. Under Romanian law, a formal mediation contract must be signed among all parties, including the mediator, before any mediation can begin.
As in other countries, the relationship between the mediator and the parties is paramount. It must rely on trust, integrity, sense of justice and sincerity of the mediator. If mediators are aware of any circumstance which might prevent them from being impartial and neutral, they have the obligation to refuse the case.
The mediators authorized by the Mediation Council have the obligation to deliver all necessary explanations to the parties related to the mediation activity, so that they clearly understand the purpose, limits and effects of mediation. All mediators must ensure that the mediation process fully respects the freedom, dignity and private lives of the parties. Mediators are also bound by confidentiality, which extends to all information or documents submitted into the process. As a rule, the parties are also bound by confidentiality, but they may decide to waive it in certain circumstances.
If a case pending in the courts is settled through mediation, the court will, on the request of the parties, issue a decision in accordance with the provisions under Art. 271 in the Romanian Civil Procedure Code. The court will also reimburse to the parties the judicial stamp charges paid to the court to deal with the case. This has become an important incentive for mediation in Romania.
Romania’s mediation law has been a significant step forward in the enhancement of public trust in mediators and the mediation process. It has also increased dispute resolution efficiency and assisted the courts in dealing with case backlogs.
A numer of other European countries have found success in the mediation directive, including Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, who have seen a significant drop in case backlogs. More countries continue to explore how best to apply the directive in their own jurisdictions.