This page provides an overview of mediation legislation in Member States of the European Union and European Economic Area, and Switzerland and the UK. 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. 

FMC website in English; the language may be switched to French or Flemish/Dutch at the top of the page.

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 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 for almost all civil disputes 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. Section 11 codifies self-determination, empowering the parties to decide when they have reached an agreement and whether they wish that agreement to be legally enforceable between them. The Act provides for the establishment of the Mediation Council of Ireland which will maintain of national register of mediators, promote mediation to the public and set and develop training standards and prepare codes of practice.

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