What is court mediation?

In general courts, mediation may be conducted in civil and petitionary matters. Usually mediation is conducted at a district court, but it is possible to initiate mediation also in a matter that has been taken to a court of appeals.

Mediation is an alternative to a trial. The mediator is a judge of the court. The purpose of the mediator is to assist the parties in resolving their dispute in a manner that satisfies both the parties. Mediation serves the needs of the parties, and the settlement is not thus directly based on the application of law.

If special expertise is needed in the matter to be mediated, the mediator may use the help of an expert assistant with the parties' consent. In mediation of custody disputes, the mediator is assisted by an expert in parenting and child development matters, usually a psychologist or a social worker (for more information, see the brochure "Expert-assisted mediation of custody disputes").

Mediation is always voluntary, which is why commencement of mediation requires that all the parties to the dispute consent to it. Mediation also requires that the matter is amenable to mediation and that a settlement is appropriate in view of the claims of the parties. The court decides whether mediation is to be initiated.

Mediation is confidential, which means that the mediator must not disclose contents of the mediation to any third parties and especially not to the judge dealing with the matter in a trial. No minutes shall be drawn up on the mediation, and the discussions conducted during the mediation are not recorded.

Updated on 6 August 2014
Ministry of Justice