During the event
During the event

For eight years now, the German Arbitration Institute (DIS), the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce (AHK) and IRZ have organised an annual event on alternative dispute resolution in Belgrade. After topics on arbitration had been dealt with so far, the focus was now on mediation for the first time.

Accordingly, the title of this year's practical seminar on 14 December 2021 was "Business Mediation as an Alternative to Court Proceedings between Companies?". Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the event was held in an online format so that interested parties from Serbia's neighbouring countries could also benefit from the practical seminar. The approximately 30 participants were from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia:

  • representatives of companies,
  • lawyers from the field of commercial law and 
  • mediators.  

Kosta Jović, responsible for legal advice at AHK Serbia, Viktor von Essen, Deputy Secretary General at DIS, and Dr Stefan Pürner, responsible Head of Section at IRZ, introduced the participants to the event. And the Head of the Economic Department of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Belgrade, Anne-Kristin Piplica, also spoke words of greeting. All emphasised the relevance of mediation in cross-border, commercial law cases and the resulting relief for the judiciary. But questions of linguistic terminology were also addressed at the beginning of this bilingual event.

Jelena Bajić Urošević and Stefan Milojević presented the procedures and legal basis of mediation in Serbia with a special focus on commercial mediation. Both work at the National Centre for Mediation (Nacionalni centar za posredovanje u rešavanju sporova) and have many years of experience in the fields of mediation and mediation training. They explained that Serbia has had a mediation law since 2014, which was recently amended. There is considerable resistance to this law within the legal profession. Unlike in Germany, final agreements on mediation proceedings are enforceable titles in Serbia. 

Viktor von Essen highlighted commercial mediation in Germany using the example of mediation according to the DIS Mediation Rules, so that a discussion was then possible against the background of the respective situation in both national laws.

In the discussion round, the audience was also interested in finding ways to make mediation as an alternative dispute resolution more attractive and in cooperation with the legal profession.