Freedom of expression and fundamental rights

Mediation Board

Udeni Perera

There is no social system without conflicts or disputes. There can be seen various institutions in the legal system in a country to solve disputes and crimes as they occur among different types of people in different forms. Therefore, the Mediation Board is established to resolve certain disputes through mediation without taking them up to the courts. 

Mediation Board has been introduced as a strategy of resolving disputes at the micro-level without being engaged in the traditional court system. Mediation Board has been introduced to Sri Lanka under act no.72 in 1988. A Mediation Board is established in every Divisional Secretariat Region. A Mediation Board consists of a president and 3 other mediators. A Mediation Board with 3 mediators is appointed to resolve a dispute. The duty of the Mediation Board is to discuss the reasons for the disputes with the two parties that are engaged in the dispute and advise them to resolve the dispute without reaching out to the court.

The Mediation Board has no authority to make decisions on behalf of any of the parties, to decide the convicted party or to reveal that one party is guilty. They only provide space for the disputed parties to understand the circumstances and resolve them.

Mediation Board can be introduced as the easiest way to resolve disputes without being directed to courts. It also saves time and money. The researches have proved that over 60% of the disputes which are directed to Mediation Boards get resolved in it. The disputes or conflicts that are categorized under severe crimes cannot be resolved in Mediation Boards. Only civil disputes and light crimes can be resolved through them. 

Disputes related to non-payment of loans, rentals and compensation as well as disputes related to tangible and intangible properties are categorized under civil disputes.  Moreover, hitting, injury, harassment and blocking are some other disputes that can be resolved through the Mediation Board. Mediation Board cannot interfere with disputes such as, mental or physical harassments towards a person, insulting or destroying someone’s reputation.

As the Mediation Board does not give conclusions by making one party guilty or guilt-free, there is a possibility of resolving the dispute with the agreement of both parties. Resolving a dispute through a Mediation Board is not as serious as filing a court case. Therefore, this method saves time and money of people and the dispute does not last for long in their minds. If it seems that some disputes cannot be resolved in the Mediation Board, it has to be directed to the court for further analysis.

The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Sri Lanka Press Institute.

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