ECOVIS Miškinis, Kvainauskas ir partneriai advokatų kontora
In Lithuania, the most popular form of civil dispute resolution is a process in the court, which is strictly regulated in the Lithuanian Civil Procedure Code and other legal acts. Court decisions are binding upon all parties, however, the Civil Procedure Code determines appeal and enforcement procedure of such decisions.
In Lithuania there also exists different civil dispute resolution procedures. These procedures, in general, are called the Alternative Dispute Resolution procedure. The Alternative Dispute Resolution procedure usually means negotiation, mediation and arbitration.
Negotiation is a popular form of dispute resolution. In the negotiation, the parties involved in the dispute (or their attorneys) directly communicate with each other to try to reach an agreement. The negotiation process is not strictly regulated. The negotiation rules are established by the parties. Therefore, negotiations can take part with the lawyers, accountants, corporate executives. Parties can negotiate themselves, or hire professionals. Successful negotiation is finalized in the written or verbal agreement.
Mediation is one of the methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution. Mediation is the process in which a neutral third party - the mediator - assists two or more parties in order to help resolve their dispute. The aim of mediation is to help parties to reach a peace agreement. Mediation can be court mediation, and out-of-court mediation. In Lithuania, we can use both these forms. Mediation is a voluntary process; parties can exit mediation at any time, for any reason, or for no reason. Mediators can be person’s with different experiences, for example legal, psychological. The mediation process provides non-binding recommendations about possible ways to settle disputes, but they cannot make any binding adjudicatory decisions.
The main principles of mediation are voluntariness, informed consent, self- determination, impartiality, confidentiality. Successful mediation is usually finalized in the written peace agreement. In the West, mediation is a popular form of dispute resolution, but in Lithuania this process is a novelty.
Arbitration is a dispute resolution process in which the disputing parties present their case to a third party – arbitrator or arbitrator’s commission. The arbitrator examines all the evidence and then makes a decision for the parties. This decision is final and cannot be appealed (challenged). Like court-based adjudication, arbitration is adversarial. Arbitration is an alternative to solve both national and international commercial disputes. In the arbitration process parties may agree on the language, place, number of arbitrators, the nominating order thereof, as well as the governing law to solve the dispute, etc. Arbitration can be ad hoc or institutional. Ad hoc arbitration means that it is formed to resolve a specific dispute. Institutional arbitration means that a dispute resolving process takes place at the arbitration institution - arbitration court. International arbitration is also a popular form of dispute resolution, but in Lithuania this is sometimes more expensive than the court process.