BZSE extends range for mediation services

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Since 2016, BZSE has been offering mediation services by Rik Bergman. To meet the increasing demand for certified mediators on Sint-Maarten, BZSE decided to have another lawyer train to become a certified mediator.
Camiel Koster took up the challenge and is now, from March 2023, BZSE’s new and second certified mediator.

Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party, known as a mediator, facilitates a discussion between two or more parties who are in dispute. The mediator is not a judge or arbiter and therefore does not render a judgment. The goal of the mediator is to help and facilitate the parties to reach a mutually acceptable agreement themselves that addresses the issues at the heart of the dispute. The mediator will facilitate communication between two or more parties who have a dispute.

Some key elements of mediation are (i) the neutrality of the mediator, (ii) confidentiality of the mediation and (iii) the fact that all parties participate voluntarily. Participating parties will be bound by confidentiality to create a safe space where everyone can be open and honest about the dispute and their standpoints; confidentiality can also help to build or regain trust between the parties. If the mediation were to fail, then whatever is said during mediation cannot be used in litigation. Contrary to litigation, mediation is voluntary. Both parties agree voluntarily to participate in mediation. That also means that one party can end the mediation at any given moment, which is in principle, not possible in litigation.

Some of the benefits of mediation are the cost-effectiveness, speed of resolution, and aim to address and solve the source of the dispute. Mediators typically charge by the hour, and the overall cost of mediation is usually divided between the parties. In contrast, litigation can be extremely expensive, with costs for attorneys for both parties, expert witnesses, court fees, and other expenses. Mediation can often be completed in a matter of weeks, whereas litigation can take years to complete. A successful mediation is more satisfying to both parties as they have reached their agreement jointly, rather than having the Court award or deny a claim for one of the parties. Mediation can help to preserve relationships between the parties, which can be important in situations where the parties will need to continue to work or interact with each other in the future. This may especially be the case in a small community like Sint Maarten.

Overall, mediation is an effective and beneficial process for resolving disputes in a wide range of contexts. It can help parties save time and money, preserve relationships, and reach outcomes that are satisfactory for everyone involved.

Are you interested to learn more about mediation or are you getting drawn into a dispute which could be solved by mediation? Please call Rik Bergman or Camiel Koster on 542 7550.

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