Multinationals with offices in Belgium often require mediation services but traditionally few
Belgian mediators have access to those companies.
The purpose of this article is to communicate about some advices that could grant us access to those mediations.
-The Combination of Compliance and the need of blue sky
Compliance has become very important in quoted companies, and it is playing a role on the priority given to mediation.
Compliance is the process of making sure that your company and its employees follow all laws, regulations, standard and ethics practices that apply to your organisation.
In the case of any dispute with possible financial consequences, compliance requests that an
accrual is made in the balance sheet for the whole amount of the risk.
On the other hand, the board of directors has to sell “blue sky” to the shareholders in a very short timeline: a publication of the financial results every six months has become the rule.
Any important financial conflict decreases the result and brings clouds in the blue sky.
Disputes, which may result in a noncompliance must be treated carefully, swiftly, and fast.
Both internal and external auditors make sure that compliance keeps aware of every detail.
Mediation is therefore written in every contract because it is supposed to reach results much faster than the proceedings…
In USA mediation is also much cheaper than arbitration and legal proceedings.
-The Need of approval
In middle sized companies, the leadership is likely to choose the mediator based on the advice of their legal counsel.
By contrast, in large multinationals, a recommendation is typically made by the internal legal department.
Those lawyers have a strong incentive to recommend a known entity, as this is perceived as reducing complexities and risks: to put it bluntly, choosing a mediator that the Board has previously approved , removes the possibility that the blame will fall on you, should the mediation not result in a positive outcome for the company.
The acquisition of such customers is not likely to be gotten by individuals and would need professional presentations from well-known associations.
-The Decision making during the mediation
Another difficult point is that the director/manager able to take the decision of an agreement shall not attend the meetings.
The mediator shall request such attendance, taking however the decision of each party on that subject into account.
Under those circumstances, a written summary at the end of each meeting shall be important since that document shall be discussed inside each organisation.
– Confidential Process
The confidentiality is compulsory in every mediation.
With such companies it is even more important due to the name of each company but also more difficult due to the quantity of people attending the meetings.The mediator should often draw the attention on that issue.
-Language of the Mediation
With a few exceptions the used language shall be English.
That implies that every mediator must be fluent in English and able to write or control the translation of the agreement in the language of the tribunal which shall approve and confirm the agreement.
This knowledge leading to the advices above has been acquired at first as a manager and later on as a service provider of Multinational companies.
I was lucky enough to be hired and I reported to a Gentleman who became the chairman of our company and later, the chairman of one of the most famous German automotive producer.
Each meeting revealed a lot about the decision making in such boards of directors.
I had also the opportunity to deal at a high level with other Multinationals.
When I decided to run my own companies, I chose to become a service provider of such international companies since I knew their rules. I loved their accuracy and I was allowed to use the part of their know how that concerned our logistical activities, especially in R&D.
When I became a mediator, I managed to cross check that information with American mediators, partners of companies of lawyers and mediators, having Multinationals as customers.I convinced a well known Belgian organisation ,mainly known for arbitration ,to
Promote mediation,but Covid prevented our dedicated team to hold any meeting.
No doubt that other special points exist. I nevertheless hope to have described the most important ones and that these advices might prove fruitful for our future business engagements.