In 1997, CEPANI responded to a request coming from certain companies, asking it to develop a technique, alongside arbitration and mediation, that could efficiently help parties in dispute to reach an agreement. This technique is now generally known as mini-trial.
The mini-trial is the appropriate procedure for any contracting party wishing to settle a dispute as quickly and efficiently as possible, in order to be able to rapidly continue its normal business relations with the other party. Both parties directly participate in the proceedings, since each of them must appoint a senior representative as an assessor in the mini-trial committee. The Chair of the mini-trial committee is appointed by CEPANI with a view to reaching a consensus of opinion between the two parties.
For this mission to succeed, two conditions must be met:
- Parties must be represented by someone of a sufficiently senior level to be able to take a step back from the dispute, take into consideration the long term interests of the company and then make a binding commitment on behalf of the company when and if a settlement is reached.
- The Chair of the mini-trial committee must have sufficient authority and negotiating abilities. The latter will allow him/her to get a full grasp of the dispute, whilst also adopting a psychological approach to the resolution of the case.