Private commercial mediation: an innovative solution – Abreu Advogados

In difficult economic times, mediation offers many advantages to parties facing a dispute, says Thomas Gaultier, Of Counsel at Abreu Advogados and Co-Founder of the firm’s innovative Mediation Centre.

En épocas difíciles, la mediación ofrece muchas ventajas a la partes de un conflicto. El proceso es generalmente más corto, económico y flexible que los medios tradicionales de resolución de conflictos, afirma Thomas Gaultier, de Abreu Advogados.

“Parties are able to resolve their dispute without incurring major costs, or the loss of time as would be suffered through the Court system, and without the risk of an often unpredictable judicial decision.”

Businesses are increasingly more protective of their assets but have fewer financial resources to protect themselves and this is where mediation stands out, he says. “It allows them to have control over a tailored solution that they themselves help reach, ultimately encouraging greater respect of the final settlement agreed.”

Despite such advantages, Gaultier accepts that many in the Portuguese legal community remain uncomfortable with the process in part due to a lack of understanding or a fear that the rule of law will no longer prevail. He believes however that lawyers must adapt and embrace solutions that benefit both companies and lawyers – satisfied clients will generate more business.

In order to promote the process, he has helped launch a private mediation service with Abreu Advogados’ lawyers acting as mediators for parties who are not already clients of the firm.

“We strongly feel that this gives a breath of fresh air to the legal market. But it requires certain precautions, including ensuring mediators’ qualifications and conflict of interest verification,” he says.

The firm’s mediators will be trained and certified by an independent entity and adhere to the highest international ethical standards. “Mediation is an essential component of a modern legal market and our hope is that other firms help us change the current Portuguese reality in the best interests of all potential users.”