As previously reported, EU directive 2008/52/EC (the Mediation Directive) was adopted on 23 April 2008. Whilst it only applies compulsorily to cross-border mediations, member states are free to apply the measures at a national level too. All member states aside from Denmark (which has opted out) must, by 21 November 2010, confirm to the European Commission details of the courts or authorities who will be competent under Article 6(3) of the Mediation Directive to ensure the enforceability of agreements resulting from mediation. Member states must bring all other provisions into force before 21 May 2011.

As the deadlines for implementation approach, the European Commission has published a press release reminding member states of the potential benefits of mediation. This provides an interesting update on the progress of implementation of the Mediation Directive to date. In particular, Belgium, Estonia, France, Italy and Portugal have already notified the Commission that they have implemented the Mediation Directive, whilst Lithuania and Slovakia have provided notification of the competent courts for enforcing cross-border mediation settlements. We understand from the Ministry of Justice that in England and Wales, changes to the Civil Procedure Rules are being prepared to give effect to the terms of the Mediation Directive.