Legal aspect and approach to mediation in India

From Advocatespedia


Mediation in India is recognized as an effective means of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Here are the key legal aspects and approaches to mediation in India:

Legal Framework

1. Statutory Recognition:

- Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996: This act provides a framework for arbitration and conciliation, and indirectly supports mediation by outlining the process for conciliation, which is akin to mediation.
- Code of Civil Procedure, 1908: Amendments in 2002 (Section 89) mandate courts to refer cases to ADR, including mediation, if it appears that there is a possibility of settlement.

2. Mediation Rules:

- Mediation and Conciliation Project Committee (MCPC): Established by the Supreme Court to oversee the implementation of mediation across the country.
- Various High Courts have their own mediation centers with specific rules and guidelines for mediation.

Institutional Framework

1. Court-Annexed Mediation:

- Many High Courts and District Courts have set up Mediation Centers.
- Mediation Centers operate under the guidance of trained mediators, often comprising retired judges and trained professionals.

2. Private Mediation:

- Several organizations and private institutions offer mediation services.
- The Indian Institute of Arbitration and Mediation (IIAM) and the Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution (CADR) are notable institutions.

Approach to Mediation

1. Voluntary Process:

- Mediation is a voluntary process, and parties must agree to participate.
- The mediator facilitates communication but does not impose a solution.


- The mediation process is confidential.
- Information disclosed during mediation cannot be used as evidence in court if the mediation fails.

3. Neutrality and Impartiality:

- The mediator is neutral and impartial, ensuring fairness in the process.
- Mediators are trained to handle disputes without bias.

4. Focus on Mutual Benefit:

- Mediation aims to find a mutually acceptable solution.
- It is a collaborative process focused on the interests of the parties rather than their legal positions.

Benefits of Mediation

1. Time and Cost-Effective:

- Mediation is generally quicker and less expensive than litigation.

2. Preservation of Relationships:

- It is less adversarial, helping to preserve personal and business relationships.

3. Flexibility:

- The process is flexible, allowing parties to explore creative solutions that a court might not be able to provide.

4. Control Over Outcome:

- Parties have more control over the outcome, as they work

Challenges and Future Prospects

Despite the positive developments, mediation in India faces several challenges. These include a lack of awareness about mediation, limited availability of trained mediators, and occasional reluctance of parties to engage in the process. Additionally, there is a need for a more robust legal framework to ensure the enforceability of mediated settlements.

To address these challenges, continuous efforts are required to promote awareness about mediation, enhance mediator training, and streamline the legal framework. The success of mediation also depends on the judiciary’s active support in referring appropriate cases for mediation and endorsing mediated settlements.


Mediation holds great promise as an effective ADR mechanism in India. The legal framework, coupled with the judiciary’s proactive approach, has laid a strong foundation for the growth of mediation. As awareness increases and more stakeholders embrace mediation, it can significantly contribute to reducing the burden on the judicial system and fostering a culture of amicable dispute resolution. By addressing the existing challenges and building on the current momentum, India can further strengthen its mediation framework, ensuring justice is accessible, efficient, and harmonious.