Francisco Alarcon (International Business Law LLM, 2019)
Francisco tells us about the new and innovative Centro de Mediación Empresarial (Business Mediation Centre) that he recently opened in Eucador.
In January of 2020, Centro de Mediación Empresarial (CME) opened its doors to Ecuador’s business community. Best translated as the Business Mediation Centre, CME aims at providing a constructive and efficient solution for the resolution of commercial disputes.
CME’s Director (and full-time mediator) is CCLS 2019 graduate Francisco Alarcon. With a business background and a specialisation in International Business Law, Francisco saw a lot of potential for the mainstream use of mediation in Ecuador’s commercial environment. Therefore, after completing his LLM activities, Francisco became a certified mediator at CEDR (Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution, London).
Francisco says that with brand new offices designed to optimize the mediation process, CME became the first centre in Ecuador to focus exclusively in non-adjudicational dispute resolution methods. All other mediation centres in the country provide arbitration services too, which often results in a lack of focus by the involved parties in trying to resolve the dispute at the mediation stage. It can be said that, in the commercial segment, mediation and its advantages have been undervalued.
This contrasts sharply with the country’s mediation-friendly legislation. In Ecuador, an agreement reached in mediation has the same legal strength as a judgement by the country’s highest court, and cannot be appealed (art. 47, Ley de Arbitraje y Mediación). Mediation also enjoys the ‘without prejudice’ benefit that it has in the UK.
Fortunately, Ecuador is a signatory the new United Nations Singapore Convention. This Convention is to mediation what the New York Convention is to arbitration: an agreement by private businesses from different countries reached through mediation is internationally enforceable. Therefore, CME aims to become an international player as well.
CME also aims to provide business and legal professionals with tools to thrive at mediation. On our webpage one can find (amongst other information) model mediation clauses – although at the moment they are only in Spanish.
During the COVID–19 lockdown, CME has been operational through ODR (Online Dispute Resolution). CME was the first centre in Ecuador to make ODR available, and has been actively mediating in recent weeks. All online mediation sessions so far have ended in settlement by the parties.
Thus, Ecuador and the region today have a centre focused solely on mediation, which aims at providing both the business and legal communities with a cost and time-effective dispute resolution method. That centre is Centro de Mediación Empresarial (CME).