Judicial mediation

Judicial mediation is an alternative approach to settle disputes before going to main proceeding in court.

If the parties reach an agreement during the judicial mediation, the case can be concluded in the form of an in-court settlement. Thus the parties avoid trial and judgement from the court. Judicial mediation is applicable to civil cases, whereas criminal cases cannot be settled in this manner.

The purpose of judicial mediation is to reach a settlement that the disputing parties can accept. The judicial mediator, who very often is a judge, assists the parties to reach an agreement. The judicial mediator attempts to obtain an oversight of  the parties’ interests and needs and tries to establish a basis for dialogue that promotes understanding and agreement between the parties.
Judicial mediation is offered at at every district and appeal courts in Norway.

What are the advantages of judicial mediation?
When a dispute is settled through judicial mediation none of the parties ”win” or ”lose”. The intention is that both parties ”win” through judicial mediation. Judicial mediation is especially suitable for resolving disputes when the parties in question continue to be in touch after the case is closed, i.e. business associates, neighbours, employer and employee, landlord and tenant etc.  But judicial mediation can also be an alternative approach in most other cases too.

Judicial mediation is faster, easier, and usually less expensive for the parties than ordinary court proceedings.

How do you receive judicial mediation?
In order to receive an offer of judicial mediation, the plaintiff must file a writ of summons to the court. The writ of summons is then served on the defendant. Both parties will then receive an offer of judicial mediation.

How are the proceedings of the case during judicial mediation?
If the parties have legal representatives, they attend the judicial mediation together. However, during the judicial mediation the legal representatives have a more passive role as they attend first and foremost as the parties’ professional judicial counsels and not to argue the case.

Throughout the judicial mediation the judge focuses on the parties’ factual interests rather than legal arguments.

The mediating judge has a different role in judicial mediation than in ordinary court proceedings. The judge has no authority to settle the case in judicial mediation. Thus, as a general rule, the presentation of evidence is excluded in judicial mediation. The judge reads the case papers in advance and he or she focuses on looking ahead as well as resolving the matter at hand rather than hearing the details of events that have taken place between the parties in the past. 

What happens if judicial mediation fails?
Judicial mediation succeeds in 70-80 % of the cases. If the disputing parties are unable to reach an agreement, the case is referred to another judge for further dealings. As the judicial mediator is under obligation of confidentiality, the judge taking over the case will not be in a position of knowing the details of the mediation. Even if a case is not resolved through judicial mediation, the judicial mediation is likely to facilitate the subsequent process of the case.




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