During the last couple of weeks the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Labor have set up the general framework to start or continue mediations –in civil or commercial issues- and conciliations –in complaints related to labor law.
Regarding Mediation, resolution Nº 121/2020 of the Ministry of Justice allows the mediator to meet parties –both jointly or separately- by videoconference. These virtual meetings can be continued by email or telephone. The resolution establishes two fundamental requirements that protect the nature of mediations: both parties must have access to the technological resources needed to participate and all principles of this form of dispute resolution should be enforced. Among this, we stress the principle of confidentiality, that bans the possibility of recording the meetings.
With or without a settlement of the dispute, the parties need to have a registered digital signature to finish the procedure. If one of them doesn´t have one, the mediator will be able to issue a permit for parties to meet in person and sign the settlement or the certificate that proofs the closure of the procedure, despite the ban on circulation decreed by Government.
Meanwhile, virtual labor conciliations need to be regulated by the National Service of Mandatory Labor Conciliation (SECLO). For the time being, the Labor Ministry issued Resolution Nº 344/2020, establishing that meeting should be celebrated using platforms sanctioned by the Ministry or by other electronical means that guarantee due process. Previously, parties should be asked about their technological resources and possibilities.
Both resolutions incorporate videoconferences to mediations and conciliations exclusively in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (CABA), and just for the duration of the sanitary emergency and the isolation and social distancing measures. However, a positive feedback from the different stakeholders could be the first step towards the implementation of these technologies to mediations and conciliations after returning to normality.