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Court Mediation in Finland

NCJ Number
Kaijus Ervasti
Date Published
111 pages
This study of mediation in Finland's district courts from 2006-2009 provides basic data on mediation cases, such as the volume of such cases, the parties involved, outcomes, and the contents of mediation agreements.
In 2006, Finland enacted legislation that enables district courts to conduct mediation modeled on the experiments conducted in Norway and Denmark. Court mediation is voluntary for parties in a dispute, and the process is managed by the judge as the parties engage in orderly discussion aimed at a mutually satisfying resolution of the conflict, which is put in writing for reference as the parties fulfill their obligations in the mediation agreement. Court mediation cases become pending in court either through a specific mediation application or a request attached to the application for a summons (action). The court decides whether mediation is to be undertaken. If the case is pending as a regular adjudicative matter, the court proceedings are interrupted for the duration of the mediation. A judge sitting in the court where the case is pending serves as the mediator. The legislation authorizing mediation does not have detailed procedural provisions; however, the court expects that the mediation will proceed equitably and impartially, such that the interests of both parties are included in the discussion. The mediator may also discuss the matter at issue with each party separately if the parties agree to this. The mediation ends when a settlement is certified or the parties notify the mediator that they have settled in some other manner or when a party notifies the mediator that he/she no longer wishes to mediate the case. After having heard the parties, the mediator decides whether or not continuation of mediation is justified. In 2006-2009, court mediation was requested in 412 cases; mediation was started in 358 cases. 1 table and 2 figures