Finland Grapples with Mediation Certification Issues
Friday, November, 11, 2011
Mediation certification is one of the issues raised in the EU Mediation Directive. Finland has recently begun to implement this law through legislation known as the "Act on Mediation and Certification of Settlements by Courts”. Previously, Finland had used a procedure known as court-annexed mediation in order to provide its citizens with an alternative to traditional litigation when they needed to settle disputes. The aim of the new directive and the law is to attain a balance between traditional judicial processes and the alternative of mediated settlements.
Mediation Certification Procedures Under the New Directive
Under the EU Mediation Directive, a specific procedure must be used to certify settlements that have been reached by means of mediation. This procedure involves the courts, which is appropriate since the judicial branch of government becomes responsible for enforcing mediated judgments just as it enforces court-created judgments. In this regard, courts can order parties to pay what they have been assessed in damages and can attach their wages and take other actions as necessary should the parties prove reluctant to obey the mediation results.
The procedure needed to certify settlements must be submitted to a district court under this legislation, but both parties need to consent to it. Settlements that are opposed by one or more of the parties will not be certified. This is an indication that business mediation needs to continue since there has not yet been a ‘meeting of the minds’.