- Legal Articles
- Ask Elhais
March 09, 2023|
In recent years, alternate forms of dispute resolution, such as arbitration and mediation, have gained significant importance. Due to their advantages, these methods are being encouraged over litigation, especially in civil and commercial disputes. UAE, being a business hub, actively promotes alternate dispute resolution methods because they are time-efficient and provide a win-win solution for the parties to the dispute.
Since its growth, ADR has constantly been evolving and new techniques have come to be adopted by various jurisdictions throughout the world. One such technique is that of a Settlement Conference, which can be said to fall under the umbrella term of Mediation.
What is a Settlement Conference?
A settlement conference, as the name suggests, is a meeting of the parties to a dispute where they attempt to arrive at a mutual solution instead of going to trial. When a dispute is of such nature that it can be settled outside the court, the parties can opt for a settlement conference where they can discuss their issues and agree upon a common resolution. It is also known as a pre-litigation settlement, or informal settlement conference, or simply a round table conference.
A settlement conference can either be voluntary, i.e. either of the parties can request it to be arranged, or mandatory, i.e. where the court refers the parties to a settlement conference before proceeding towards a trial. A settlement conference usually takes place in a civil matter, such as breach of a contract or a divorce case. Settlements in criminal cases may take place at the option of the victim.
How does a Settlement Conference work?
Parties are accompanied by their attorneys, and are presided over by a judge. The judge is informed about the facts of the dispute by the parties, and will then meet with the attorneys of either side to hear their claims. Once this is done, the judge will attend each party separately and present offers or counteroffers to both. The judge can also state his own recommendations for the parties to reach a common ground. Once the parties are happy with and agree upon a solution, the settlement will be documented along with the agreement, which will be reviewed and then signed by the parties to the dispute.
A settlement cannot be forced upon the parties, and if the parties cannot reach an amicable solution, the case will proceed towards trial.
Why should parties choose to settle their dispute through a Settlement Conference?
Just like any other alternate method of dispute resolution, a settlement conference ensures that a dispute is resolved within a reasonable time frame and the outcome is favorable for both the parties. A settlement conference will save the parties from the hassle of litigation, as well as the chance of losing the case in court. Litigation often comes with heavy costs and unwanted publicity. A settlement conference will ensure that the parties have thought through these factors and whether they want to proceed to trial or settle beforehand.
Are there any drawbacks to a Settlement Conference?
Just like every other alternate dispute resolution method, a settlement conference will bar you from a clear win and the exercise of all your claims. Naturally, a settlement conference implies that the parties reach common ground, thus limiting the parties to a certain extent. Alternate dispute resolution urges the parties to compromise in order to arrive at a fair decision for both sides, unlike the litigation process where the judgement may be pronounced in favor of one party. Further, a good settlement conference will depend entirely on the negotiation skills of your lawyer, which can be quite risky if you do not have strong evidence to support your claim. Moreover, not every case is of the nature that it can be settled through a settlement conference.
Is Settlement Conference practiced in the UAE?
The Family Guidance Committee is a suitable example of a settlement conference, which addresses cases related to family matters before they can reach the court. Article 16 of the Personal Status Code, 2005, makes it mandatory for parties governed by the law to resort to the Family Orientation Committee for their disputes, unless they cannot be resolved through reconciliation.
A similar provision is incorporated under Dubai Law No. 16 of 2009, which brought into existence the Centre for Amicable Settlement of Disputes. As per Article 6, matters that fall within the jurisdiction of the Centre shall be referred to it before being instituted in a court.
Federal Law No. 17 of 2016 establishes mediation centers in Courts of First Instance. Civil and commercial disputes not exceeding a valuation of AED 500,000, and those referred to the centers by the parties themselves can be decided by the centers.
Copyright © of this article is retained by the author and/or other copyright owners. We explicitly grant you permission to download a copy, without any alteration, of this article for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or any charge. This article can be utilized on your website or for marketing, however, we grant you permission to host this article on your website and no other rights. This content should not be altered in any way or sold commercially in any format without prior permission of the copyright holder. During reference of this article, full biographic details entailing the name of the author, his designation, the institute and the publishing date of the article shall be provided.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
I owe the success of my case to Dr. Hassan's diligent approach. He remained focused, put me at ease and always went the extra mile. Dr. Hassan tirelessly put my case in the best possible light and I cannot thank him enough. I would highly recommend Dr. Hassan - I am grateful to him from the bottom of my heart.
Dr. Hassan Elhais is among the best legal consultants I have ever worked with. He has an amazing ability to reduce complex issues into a simple concept that non-legal people can understand. He consistently develops innovative litigation strategies that help us to achieve our ultimate legal goals.
...the extraordinary effort that has been exerted by the staff, and we specially thank Dr. Hassan Mohsen Alhais. Wishing your continues success & excellence...
I believe everyone should recognize what a difference Dr. Hassan Elhais work has made to people's lives; and especially to our family's life, because we will remain forever grateful to each and every one of his team.
Dr. Hassan Elhais never fears cases that involve exposure and he always gives me his honest assessment of our chances of success, which is invaluable to me.
He aided us not only in providing legal advice but also in all legal issues that required a long term strategic approach to achieve most favorable and optimum outcomes he provided us with high level of professional service.
Dr. Hassan Elhais is a responsible, reputable counsel who operates to high levels of service.
Dr Hassan Elhais is responsive, thorough and creative with his advice, and is a valued advisor and legal consultant.
Regardless of the complexity of the matter I know Dr. Hassan Elhais will consider not only legal strategy but also business practicalities in providing advice and litigation options.
I recommend Dr. Hassan Elhais to anyone who says 'I'm in legal trouble'. I was extremely satisfied with the high standard of his work. He has always been there when I have needed him and I refer all my clients, family and friends to him/his firm.
Dr. Hassan Elhais was very professional and he listened to my needs. He was very prompt, efficient and always kept me informed. Dr. Hassan Elhais's service was excellent and I would definitely recommend him to friends and colleagues.