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ARBITRATION WORLD A Look at the New Vienna Mediation Rules by Ian Meredith (London) and Hendrik Puschmann (London/Frankfurt) INTRODUCTION The new mediation rules of the Vienna International Arbitration Centre (“VIAC”) took effect on 1 January 2016. VIAC is the international arbitration court of the Austrian chamber of commerce and is a leading arbitral institution in Central Europe. The new VIAC mediation rules replace the VIAC rules of conciliation and are an entirely new set of rules rather than a modification of existing ones. There is a transitional provision for conciliation agree- ments under the old VIAC conciliation rules: unless parties to such agreements expressly opt out, disputes to which such an agreement applies will now be automatically covered by the new mediation rules instead (art. 14(2)). The new mediation rules follow a comprehensive revision of VIAC’s arbitration rules, which came into force on 1 January 2013 and were discussed in Arbitration World in March 2014. THE MAIN PROVISIONS OF THE RULES The rules adopt a broad definition of mediation: they apply to any “alternative dispute resolution method chosen by the parties” where “one or more neutral persons […] support the parties in the resolution of their dispute” (art. 2). The provisions for the procedure of the mediation conform to international standards and are uncontroversial: • Proceedings are commenced by filing a request for mediation (art. 3), which is required to set out the parties’ contact details, a short description of the matter, and any agreements or proposals as to the format (number of mediators, language etc.) of the proceedings. 67