Mediation on courts

Mediation in Europe and in Hungary - International conference on court annexed mediation 5-6. May 2016.

Interactive programme

Court annexed mediation in Hungary

Since 2013 an alternative dispute resolution procedure has been available at the Hungarian courts. During the past three years the mediation process at the courts has become known among the members of the court system, which ensures the using of the process in greater proportion in the cases which are not excluded. We commenced this project in view of the European mediation practice in such a way which encourage the parties to take advantage of the mediation by giving adequate personal information and creating a financial interest.

In the last few years the Hungarian model has become a unique, costumer-focused model. The parties may choose whether they wish to use the court’s mediation process, and if so it is included in the costs of legal proceedings, or they could opt to a mediator outside of the court. The court mediation is also available in pending cases at the framework of judicial and non-judicial proceedings. The court mediation is a non-judicial procedure. At the courts judges and officials of the court with special qualification shall conduct the mediation process. In the case of an agreement, the parties shall be entitled to the right for the suspension of the payment of duty, depending on in which stage the agreement ends the process.

The parties may choose a so-called „private mediator” related to the court proceedings, but independently of it as well. In such cases, the hourly rate and the cost of mediation process are paid by themselves, while from fees paid to the intermediator cost imputation can be enforced from the legal proceedings levy to the maximum of 50.000HUF (approx. 160 Euro).

Regulation of the mediation procedure in Hungary:

The Law of intermediary activities was adopted in 2002 (Act LV, 2002) which established the legal framework for the mediation in Hungary. The law was supplemented with a new section from 24th July 2012, with the procedure of mediation at courts.

Since 15 March 2014 the judge in actions for the termination of parental custody rights may order that the parties should visit together a mediator (mandatory mediation), and listen to the detailed information about what advantages it has if they resolved the conflict with an agreement they worked out together. In these cases they are free to decide if they enter into the mediation procedure, or they ask for the decision of the judge. If they do not wish to continue the mediation procedure or would like to finish it without an agreement, the trial continues without delay.

In the case of an agreement they can ask the judge to approve the agreement in a court settlement, so their mutual will be in judgement effect and will therefore be enforceable.

Judicial mediation network

In Hungary’s most relevant courts, so approximately in 100 major Hungarian courts, there are more than 130 officers of the court and judges who attend in the judicial mediation procedures.

Judicial mediation data from 2013 to 2015

Agreements were established by the parties in about half of the mediation procedures conducted by court mediators. Last year’s statistics also show that the process or a part of it is solved with an agreement at least in the case of every third mandatory court mediation.

The number of skilled mediators

From 2013 to the end of the first half of 2016 325 judges and officers of the court earned a certificate in the accredited mediator training (60 hours, 6 days).

By promoting the legal institution it is recommended to „leave the walls” of the courts, concerning this a lot of examples have been published in newspapers, in county newspapers, shown in television interviews recently.

It can also be said on the experience of the legal instrument in Hungary that the parties who are familiar with the mediation process, were almost on hundred per cent satisfied with the results, because they can peacefully settle their conflict themselves within the framework of the established mutual communication and future collaborative process.

The experiences show that this kind of conflict settlement has a positive effect on the parties relationship, on their behaviour during trial, and on their communicative willingness even if they did not establish an agreement during the court mediation.

There were 2000 mediation procedures conducted by court mediators from 1st of January 2013 until 31st December and half of it (998 procedures) ended with an agreement.