Contributed By Pérez-Llorca
Arbitration, mediation and conciliation are the three ADR methods regulated in Spain.
Mediation is popular and commonly implemented in the family law field, although it is also implemented in other fields such as civil law, criminal law or labour law.
Arbitration is an ADR method which is viewed as a method to resolve international commercial disputes. One of its advantages is the fact that it is tailored to accommodate the specific controversy.
Conciliation is another ADR method regulated in Spain and commonly implemented in the labour law field, although it is less popular in the other fields.
The Spanish legal system promotes ADR by implementing statutes that regulate them, and by permitting parties to resolve their controversies through ADR. No sanctions are imposed for unreasonably refusing ADR. However, as we will now see, some ADR proceedings are binding.
Regarding mediation, the statutes that regulate mediation proceedings attempt to provide certain principles and guarantees, such as the impartiality of the mediators, neutrality and confidentiality of the proceeding.
Mediation is also promoted by permitting the parties to decide how a mediation proceeding will be organised and to establish its scope. Moreover, courts may not resolve a certain dispute if it is being resolved through mediation and the mediation proceeding is still ongoing.
However, mediation is not compulsory. Thus, if two parties agree to resolve a controversy through mediation, neither party is obliged to stay in the mediation proceeding or to reach an agreement.
As for arbitration, parties may agree to resolve a controversy through arbitration by introducing a contractual clause in this regard. Such clause is legally binding, as well as the arbitration award, which is enforceable in the courts.
Conciliation is regulated by statutory law and forms part of court procedures. Conciliation is not compulsory. Thus, there are no sanctions for unreasonably refusing such ADR.
There are institutions offering and promoting mediation and arbitration. For instance, the Spanish Arbitration Court is an institution which provides detailed information regarding arbitration proceedings, its advantages, price and duration, and other factors.