EU-EEA Legislation on Mediation

This page provides an overview of mediation legislation in Member States of the European Union and European Economic Area, and Switzerland. Effort has been made to identify training or certification requirements, where applicable. This page is provided for informational purposes only, and the authoritative Act/s should be sourced directly and consulted where necessary (see documents section at bottom of page).

AUSTRIA

The main law is titled “Mediationsgesetz” (mediation act published in 2003). It is part of the “law for the promotion of mediation and other ADR procedures”. The content of the Austrian Mediation Act is limited to the basic duties and tasks of a mediator, some limitations in the mediator’s function and to a general duty for education and advanced training. The Act provides for the “pure” mediation primarily. This is the mediation procedure outside the court.

The Federal Minister of Justice maintains a List of Mediators. Entitled to registration in the List of Mediators is any person who proves that he is over the age of 28, he is professionally qualified, he is trustworthy and he has taken out professional liability insurance in accordance with article 19 of the same act. Professionally qualified is any person who, on the basis of appropriate training (article 29) is in possession of knowledge and skills of mediation and who is also familiar with its legal and psychosocial basic principles. The training shall be completed in training courses and practical workshops of those institutions, including the universities, which the Federal Minister of Justice has registered in the list of training institutions for mediation in civil law matters.

BELGIUM

The Belgian Law on Mediation of 21 February 2005 (Law on Mediation) applies to domestic as well as cross-border mediation. Additionally, the Federal Mediation Commission issued a Code of Conduct for accredited mediators by its decision of 18 October 2007. Mediation is not obligatory in Belgium. Although the Law on Mediation regulates the court-instigated type of mediation, a court can order it only at the joint request of the parties, or on its own initiative but with the consent of the parties. 

Under the Law on Mediation, it is the FMC that accredits mediators. There are three categories of matters for which the FMC provides accreditation: family; civil and commercial; and social matters. A separate application is required for each of these three categories. The Law on Mediation sets the minimum conditions that individuals must satisfy in order to obtain the title of an accredited mediator. The requirements are further elaborated in the Commission’s Guidelines of 21 February 2005 for the introduction of the file to become accredited as a mediator. The Law on Mediation does not require the candidate mediator to be a lawyer while foreign mediators can also practise mediation in Belgium. Moreover, the FMC issued a Code of Conduct for accredited mediators by its decision of 18 October 2007. The FMC has regulated mediators’ training, but the training itself is provided by the private sector. 

BULGARIA

The Ministry of Justice of Bulgaria has established a register of mediators as part of the central register of non-profit corporate bodies offering useful public services. Mediation is entirely voluntary. Although mediation provides an alternative means of resolving a dispute without going to court, it is not a prerequisite when initiating court proceedings.

There is no specific code of conduct for mediators. However, provisions on ethical standards are contained in the Mediation Act, which sets out the prerequisites for becoming a mediator and the conditions and process of approving organisations that provide mediation and fall under the private sector.

CROATIA

Pursuant to the Mediation Act No 18/11, the Ministry of Justice is to maintain the Register of Mediators. The Mediation Centre at the Croatian Insurance Bureau compiles the list of mediators from a line of professionals who have been adequately trained. Mediators may be determined among judicial experts who have affirmed themselves through their scientific or professional work or their public activities.

CYPRUS

Mediation may take place at anytime, as well as in the context of judicial proceedings and shall be conducted only by a person who is registered in the Register of Mediators and submits to the Minister a certification that he has attended a programme of training as a Mediator as well as certification of continuing his professional training (see section 12 of the relevant act).

Any person may be registered in the Register of Mediators, who is enrolled in the Roll of Advocates and holds an annual license of practising as an advocate in accordance with the Advocate’s Law and, if he wishes to conduct mediation by virtue of paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of section 5 of the Act, is properly trained; is a member of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry or the Cyprus Scientific and Technical Chamber; is the holder of a recognized university degree and has attended a special training programme to become a mediator of total forty (40) hours, organized by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, or the Cyprus Scientific and Technical Chamber, or has attended an equivalent programme; does not hold any public post, either permanent, or temporary, or by substitution in the public service; has not been convicted of a serious criminal offence or an offence involving dishonesty or moral turpitude; and is not under a trusteeship or guardianship and he is not deprived of his legal capacity.

CZECH REPUBLIC

The Probation and Mediation Service of the Czech Republic is the centralised body responsible for mediation as a means of dealing with the consequences of a criminal offence between the offender and the victim in criminal proceedings. The Ministry of Justice has responsibility for this service.

A registered mediator acting in accordance with Act No 202/2012 must successfully complete a professional examination before a commission appointed by the Ministry of Justice. A mediator acting within the remit of the Probation and Mediation Service in accordance with Act No 257/2000 must successfully complete a qualifying examination.

The training of mediators acting within the criminal justice system is ensured by the Probation and Mediation Service; training in the area of non-criminal mediation is offered by a range of bodies and educational institutions.

DENMARK

Chapter 27 of the Administration of Justice Act sets out rules on court mediation in civil cases pending before a district court, a High Court or the Maritime and Commercial Court. A mediator can be a judge or an officer of the court in question who is designated to serve as a mediator, or a lawyer who has been approved by the Court Administration to serve as a mediator in the High Court district concerned.

ESTONIA

In Estonia the distinction must be drawn between mediation and conciliation. Mediation is a broad concept covering all activities in which an independent third party intervenes between people in disagreement on any issue, without having the rights of a court arbiter. Under Estonian law, conciliation refers to the activities of a conciliator or conciliation body in civil cases. Conciliation is regulated under the Conciliation Act, and mediation under a specific Act providing for mediation. The Conciliation Act was drafted to transpose Directive 2008/52/EC on certain aspects of mediation in civil and commercial matters into Estonian law. Under the Conciliation Act a conciliator may be any natural person whom the parties have asked to act as conciliator. Attorneys-at-law and notaries may also act as a conciliator. Under the specific Act the role of conciliator may also be assigned to a state or local government body.

FINLAND

The general management, guidance and supervision of mediation in criminal and certain civil cases are the responsibility of the Ministry of Social Affairs. Civil matters and disputes submitted to general courts may be mediated as set out in the statute on court-annexed mediation (Act 663/2005). Mediation offices receive mediation requests and co-operate with various authorities throughout the mediation process. Each mediation case is assigned to a voluntary mediator chosen by professionals working at the mediation office. Also, the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) organises training for mediators.

FRANCE

Order No 2011-1540 of 16 November 2011 transposed EU Directive 2008/52/EC into French law. The Directive establishes a framework intended to facilitate the amicable resolution of disputes by the parties, with the aid of a third party, the mediator. This Order amends the Act of 8 February 1995 so as to establish a general framework for mediation.

The legislation provides for training in family mediation to be given by approved centres, and a diploma to be awarded by the regional prefect after completion of training or a certification process validating the knowledge and experience acquired by the mediator. The training centres are approved by their Regional Health and Social Services Office. In these centres students undergo 560 hours of training spread over three years, with at least 70 hours of practice. The training ends with an examination.

GERMANY

The German Mediation Act only establishes general guidelines, as mediators and parties concerned need significant scope for manoeuvre during the mediation process. According to the Act, mediators are independent and impartial persons, without decision-making power, who guide the parties concerned through the mediation procedure. The Act deliberately avoids establishing a precise code of conduct for the mediation procedure. However, it does set out a number of disclosure obligations and restrictions on activity, to protect the independence and impartiality of the mediator profession. Moreover, legislation formally obliges mediators to maintain strict client confidentiality.

There is no legislation defining the professional profile of a mediator. Similarly, access to the profession is not restricted. Mediators are themselves responsible for ensuring that they have the necessary knowledge and experience (through suitable training and further development courses) to reliably guide parties through the mediation process. German law establishes the general knowledge, competencies and procedures that should be covered by suitable prior training. Any persons meeting these criteria may work as a mediator. There is no set minimum age, and no requirement for example that a mediator must have followed a university-level course of study. Mediator training is currently offered by associations, organisations, universities, companies and individuals.

GREECE

The current legal framework in Greece is law 4512/2018, articles 178-206 which have replaced law 3898/2010. This new law is also based on directive 2008/52 and includes provisions on disciplinary law of mediators (arts 188-197) as well as on training and accreditation of mediators in a very detailed manner (arts. 198-204). Prospective mediators undergo a training of at least 80 hours. The Mediator Certification Board is responsible for certifying mediators, ensuring that mediation training organisations comply with requirements, ensuring that certified mediators comply with the Code of Ethics and recommending legally established penalties to the Minister for Justice, Transparency and Human Rights.

Mediation training may be provided by a not-for-profit company comprising at least one bar association and at least one of the national chambers and operating under a licence from the Legal Profession and Bailiffs Department of the Directorate-General for the Administration of Justice of the Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights, upon a recommendation from the Mediator Certification Board.

HUNGARY

According to Act 2002 LV. on Mediation, the Ministry of Public Administration and Justice is responsible for the registration of mediators and of legal persons employing mediators. Upon request any natural person who satisfies the following criteria must be admitted to the register: a) have a degree in higher education and at least five years experience in the respective field, b) have no prior criminal record, c) for whom there are no other legal reasons for disqualification.

ICELAND

There is no tradition of professional arbitration or mediation in Iceland. However, there is a provision in Icelandic law which allows either a judge (at the request of the parties to a legal action), or the parties themselves, to refer a dispute to the local district commissioner (sýslumaður) for mediation (sáttaumleitanir) (107. gr. laga 91/1991). This provision was introduced in 1991 but has not actually been put into practice. Moreover, the Court of Arbitration of the Iceland Chamber of Commerce has introduced a statute on mediation.

IRELAND

The Mediation Act 27/2017 came into operation on 1 January, 2018.  The Act contains provisions for a comprehensive statutory framework to promote the resolution of disputes through mediation as an alternative to court proceedings. The underlying objective of the Act is to promote mediation as a viable, effective and efficient alternative to court proceedings, thereby reducing legal costs, speeding up the resolution of disputes and reducing the stress and acrimony which often accompanies court proceedings.

ITALY

Mediation services are provided by mediation organisations which may be public or private and which are entered in a register of mediation organisations (registro degli organismi di mediazione) kept by the Ministry of Justice. A person wishing to become a mediator must satisfy the requirements laid down in Article 4(3)(b) of Ministerial Order No 18/2010: in particular, they must hold a degree or diploma at least equivalent to a university degree following three years of study, or in the alternative be a member of a professional association or organisation and have completed at least two‑yearly refresher courses with training providers accredited by the Ministry of Justice, and in the course of the two‑year retraining period they must have taken part as assisted trainees in at least twenty cases of mediation.

The training providers that issue certificates stating that mediators have completed the necessary training courses are public or private bodies accredited by the Ministry of Justice on condition that they meet stated standards. There is no “free-lance” mediation in Italy. A mediator has to be enrolled at a mediation centre in order to perform mediations and has to be trained by approved mediation training centres, also enrolled at the Ministry of Justice.

LATVIA

The use of mediation in the settlement of civil disputes is currently in its initial stages in Latvia. Law 108.1/2014 has introduced the prerequisites required for one to become a certified mediator in the State. He may be a natural person who has reached 25 years of age; has impeccable reputation; has acquired an education document attesting a State recognised higher education; is fluent in the official language at the highest level; has attended a mediator’s training course; has obtained a mediator’s certificate.

LIECHTENSTEIN

Law No 31/2005 introduces the prerequisites of the profession of the mediator as follows: must be at least 28 years old; possess educational qualifications; be trustworthy; have liability insurance; carry out the profession of the mediator via suitable premises; be a citizen of Lichtenstein or of a contracting party to the EEA; be based in Lichtenstein.

LITHUANIA

Mediation is regulated by the Law on Conciliatory Mediation in Civil Disputes (Civilinių ginčų taikinamojo tarpininkavimo įstatymas). Within this framework, recourse to mediation is entirely voluntary. There are no specific regulations like codes of conduct for mediators. Thus, there are no requirements for the mediators in out-of-court mediation and no Register of Mediators. However, mediators in court-annexed mediation must undergo short training course in mediation.

LUXEMBOURG

Article 1251-3(2) of the New Code of Civil Procedure and the Grand-Ducal Regulation of 25 June 2012 referred to above set out the conditions which must all be met by natural persons wishing to obtain approval: they must provide guarantees of good repute, competence, training, independence and impartiality; they must produce an extract from the Luxembourg police records or a similar document issued by the competent authorities in the country of residence where they have resided for the past five years; they must enjoy civil rights and be entitled to exercise political rights; and they must have specific training in mediation in the form of: (a) a Master’s degree in mediation awarded by the University of Luxembourg or a university, a higher education institution or another establishment offering the same level of training, designated in accordance with the laws, regulations or administrative provisions of a Member State of the European Union; or (b) three years’ professional experience supplemented by specific training in mediation, as laid down in Article 2 of the Grand-Ducal Regulation of 25 June 2012; or (c) training in mediation recognised by a Member State of the European Union.

MALTA

The government body responsible for mediation in Malta is the Malta Mediation Centre, which was established under Chapter 474 of the Mediation Act, 2004. The Mediation Centre provides a forum to which parties to a dispute may refer, or be referred, to resolve their dispute with the assistance of a mediator. The Malta Mediation Centre has a Code of Conduct, which mediators are required to abide by during the mediation proceedings.

NETHERLANDS

In Dutch law, there are no specific statutory provisions pertaining to mediation, and only a few court decisions on the subject have been published so far. Therefore, the 1995 NMI Mediation Rules (as amended in 2017) thus fill a gap, providing standards for mediators, disputants, and judges. Three basic principles have been written into the NMI Mediation Rules: 1.       Mediation is based on the continuing voluntary consent of all parties; 2.            the mediator must be independent and impartial; and 3. confidentiality and secrecy are to be observed during and after the mediation, by all parties concerned.

NORWAY

Pursuant to the Norwegian Dispute Act (the “NDA”) Section 5-4, and notwithstanding any mediation contract, disputing parties are obliged to investigate the possibility of, and attempt, reaching an amicable settlement of the dispute before an action is brought before the court, if necessary through conciliation before the Conciliation Board, non-judicial mediation or by bringing the dispute before a non-judicial dispute resolution board. Both mediators and assistants shall be impartial and independent of the parties and qualified for the task. The mediator and assistant shall on their own motion provide information about circumstances that could cast legitimate doubt on their impartiality or independence.

POLAND

In 2010 a section was created within the Ministry of Justice to be responsible for mediation issues, currently functional in the Division for Victims of Crime and the Promotion of Mediation. The Minister for Justice works with the Social Council on Alternative Dispute and Conflict Resolution which introduced the Code of Ethics of Polish Mediators. There are also a large number of non-governmental organisations and companies which play an important role in promoting mediation and determining its internal standards. These organisations lay down their own standards in relation to training, requirements for candidates wishing to become mediators, mediation methods, ethical standards and good professional practice. These rules are internal in nature and are directed only to mediators who are members of those organisations.

PORTUGAL

Portugal has a centralised government body responsible for the regulation of mediation activities – the Directorate-General for Justice. This Directorate-General is a department in the Ministry of Justice. There are also non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in the area of mediation in Portugal as well as private associations that provide mediation services and training programmes for mediators. These training courses are approved by the Portuguese Ministry of Justice. To be approved they must cover a certain number of hours of learning, certain teaching practices and specific programme content which is in line with the relevant legislation.

There is no national code of conduct for mediators. Mediators conduct their activities in accordance with the European Code of Conduct for Mediators, with some legal and administrative structures defining their activities and the requirements for practising their profession. The conduct of mediators is monitored by a public mediation system. The type used depends on the area in which they work.

ROMANIA

The Mediation Council has established the National Register of Mediator’s Professional Associations. This Register lists the non-governmental organizations which promote mediation and represent mediators’ professional interests. Training on mediation is provided only by the private sector, but the Mediation Council is responsible for authorizing training courses providers in order to ensure that all courses offer trainings of the same standards.

SLOVAKIA

Mediation mechanisms are described in Act No 420/2004 on mediation. This Act governs the performance of mediation, the basic principles of mediation and the effects of mediation.  It applies to conflicts in relationships governed by civil law, family law, commercial contracts, and labour law.

SLOVENIA

The Act on Alternative Dispute Resolution in Judicial Matters (ZARSS, Uradni List RS (UL RS; Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia) Nos 97/09 and 40/12 – Fiscal Balance Act (ZUJF)), which was adopted on 19 November 2009 and came into force on 15 June 2010, requires first-instance and second-instance courts to adopt and bring into force a programme of alternative dispute settlement to allow parties alternative means of settlement in disputes on commercial, labour, family and other civil-law matters. The basic legal framework is set by the Mediation in Civil and Commercial Matters Act (ZMCGZ, UL RS No 56/08) which refers to mediation in general, i.e. to mediation associated with judicial procedures and to non-judicial mediation. It sets out only the basic rules for mediation procedures, leaving other aspects to self-regulating mechanisms. Training for mediators is provided by a number of NGOs, including the Centre for Judicial Education of the Ministry of Justice.

SPAIN

Mediation in Spain is very common in labour disputes. It is sometimes compulsory to attempt mediation before resorting to the courts. Law 36/2011 governing the labour courts introduces a genuine novelty by establishing a general rule that all applications must be accompanied by a certificate attesting to a prior attempt at conciliation or mediation before the appropriate administrative service, the Mediation, Arbitration and Conciliation Service (SMAC), or before bodies performing such functions under a collective agreement.

Furthermore, Law 5/2012 on mediation in civil and commercial matters provides that the mediator must have an official university degree or advanced vocational training and have specific training to practise mediation acquired by following one or more specific courses taught by appropriately accredited institutions, which will be valid for the exercise of the mediation activity anywhere in the country.Generally speaking, the mediator is required to have a university qualification, of at least diploma level plus 100-300 course hours of mainly practical training specifically in mediation.

SWEDEN

There is no central body responsible for regulating the profession of mediator except from the National Courts Administration, which provides relevant information to the interested parties. In commercial matters the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce and the West Sweden Chamber of Commerce and Industry have an intense activity in the field. There is no specific information on mediation training, and no national training body for mediators.

SWITZERLAND*

The professional title ‘mediator’ is not as such protected in Switzerland. Several cantons distinguish between authorised mediators, who must fulfil certain requirements (eg, hold a university diploma or equivalent title, have specific training and experience in mediation, be over 30 years of age, have no criminal record relating to offences likely to impair his or her honour) and be sworn in, and non-authorised mediators.

The distinction mainly plays a role in relation to legal aid, which is in certain cantons only granted if the mediation is conducted before an authorised mediator. In addition, there are many training programmes that entitle mediators to carry specific titles upon their completion. Hence, the Swiss Bar Association (SBA) (www.sav-fsa.ch) grants the title of ‘Mediator SBA’ (médiateur FSA/Mediator SAV) to those of its members who have successfully accomplished a practice-orientated training in the field of mediation and can periodically demonstrate that they are continuing their professional education in that field. Further examples include the title of ‘mediator SCCM’ (médiateur CSMC/Mediator SKWM), delivered by the Swiss Chamber of Commercial Mediation (SCCM) (www.skwm.ch) or the title of ‘mediator FSM-SDM’ (médiateur/Mediator FSM-SDM) delivered by the Swiss Federation of Mediation Associations (Fédération Suisse des Associations de Médiation (FSM)/Schweizerischer Dachverband Mediation (SDM) (www.infomediation.ch)).

The only requirements regarding the training for mediators under Swiss law relate to the qualifications of authorised mediators. In some cantons, authorised mediators must be accredited by a recognised Swiss mediation institution (for example the SBA, SCCM or FSM-SDM); in others, it is sufficient for the mediators to establish that they possess specific qualifications to practise mediation and have experience in that field.

UNITED KINGDOM (ENGLAND AND WALES)

Civil mediation is not regulated by law, nor is it a prerequisite to court proceedings. There are no public or official exams for mediators in the UK and there is no single standard of basic professional training for commercial mediators, although training for mediators is required by providers in order for mediators to be appointed on the panel of the accredited bodies.

The UK has partly implemented the Mediation Directive 2008/52/EC by enacting the Civil Procedure Amendment Rules 2011, which came into force on 6 April 2011, and the Cross-Border Mediation (EU Directive) Regulations 2011, which came into effect on 20 May 2011. These rules are, however, only relevant to cross-border disputes. 

Documents

2 comments

Please be informed that since this year Lithuania have new mediation law and since next year we will have mandatory mediation in family dispute cases.

Great, thanks for letting us know, Odeta! Perhaps there is scope for an IMI blog post.

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