The EU Parliament has adopted a Resolution on the implementation of the EU Mediation Directive (2008/52/EC), containing recommendations aimed at increasing the use of mediation in civil and commercial disputes throughout the EU.
The Resolution follows a 2016 report by the EU Commission which concluded that, overall, the Mediation Directive had added value, particularly by prompting significant legislative changes in several Member States. No revision of the Directive itself was recommended. However, the report noted continuing difficulties with the functioning of many of the national mediation systems in practice. These were attributed principally to the lack of a “mediation culture” in many Member States, insufficient knowledge of how to deal with cross-border cases, the low level of awareness of mediation, the functioning of quality control mechanisms for mediators and a reluctance by courts to propose mediation.
In response, Parliament has made the following recommendations:
- EU Member States should step up their efforts to encourage the use of mediation in civil and commercial disputes, such as through information campaigns, improved cooperation between legal professionals and an exchange of best practices.
- The Commission should assess the need to develop EU-wide quality standards for the provision of mediation services.
- The Commission should assess the need for member states to establish national registers of mediated proceedings. (subject to data protection rules).
- The Commission should undertake a detailed study on the obstacles to the free circulation of foreign mediation agreements across the EU, and on options to promote the use of mediation.
- The Commission should find solutions to extend the scope of mediation to other civil or administrative matters.
We will report on any steps to implement these recommendations in due course.