Mediation between companies does not altogether follow the same process as a consumer dispute.
In this respect, le ENGIE Group has an independent mediator (within the meaning of the Consumer Code, approved in February 2016, and listed as a European Commission mediator), who has the authority to handle all types of disputes between a Group company and its customers, suppliers, subcontractors, partner… whether the latter are individual consumers or companies.
With regard to a disagreement between a company and ENGIE, the company must refer it to the Mediator. If an ENGIE entity requests mediation with a company, the latter should first agree to it.
The parties then submit their dispute and expectations to the Mediator, who decides whether or not the complaint is admissible (for instance, no mediation if the dispute has gone to court).
If mediation is accepted, the Mediator makes the following arrangements for face-to-face mediation:
- An initial meeting is arranged: the parties must name a representative having decision-making power to resolve the dispute.
- Mediation begins with a reminder of the principles of the mediation process followed by a presentation of the method that will be used:
- The parties sign a non-disclosure agreement, which is sent on to the Mediator;
- The parties share and approve the values of ENGIE Group’s Mediation underpinning the proper conduct of the mediation process (see appended document).
- Each party can also be assisted by one or more experts (lawyer, corporate lawyer, etc.), it being understood that it is the designated representative who speaks. The experts may request the Mediator for leave to speak.
- The parties undertake to try and reach an agreement;
- Mediation is free of charge: the ENGIE Group’s mediator does not reinvoice his service;
- Each party can request an adjournment during the mediation process: Caucus: this is a private meeting that suspends the mediation process and involves only one of the parties – which may comprise several persons who need to consult one another. The part initiating the caucus may ask the Mediator to attend the discussion. The mediator may arrange a caucus with either party to clarify a standpoint, redefine the rules, examine a complaint following a line of reasoning that cannot concern the other party before a more conciliatory or clearer position is adopted.
- The parties are at liberty to stop the mediation process at any time. The Mediator can stop it too, if the rules of good conduct/values are breached.
- Mediation aims to attempt to find a solution to the disagreement, one that must be defined by the parties.
- After reiterating the rules and methods, the Mediator lets each party speak and set out their version of the facts and their impressions. Each party writes their version on a flip board.
- He then questions each party about their understanding of the other party’s view or interpretation of the facts. He urges them to consider the situation through the other party’s eyes.
- He continues by asking each party to state their expectations.
- Several meetings may be needed reach an agreement.
- If an agreement is reached, the parties will ratify it in a settlement recording the shared solution.