Is it mandatory to participate in Pre-Litigation Mediation?

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate

High Court Lucknow

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Pre-litigation mediation is an alternative dispute resolution mechanism that is gaining popularity in India. It is a process of resolving disputes before the initiation of legal proceedings and involves a neutral third party, known as a mediator, who helps the parties to reach a mutually acceptable settlement. However, one question that arises is whether participation in pre-litigation mediation is mandatory or not. In this blog post, we will discuss whether it is mandatory to participate in pre-litigation mediation.

Mandatory Pre-Litigation Mediation in India

In some cases, pre-litigation mediation is mandatory in India. For example, in the case of commercial disputes, the Commercial Courts Act, 2015, mandates that the parties must attempt to resolve their disputes through pre-litigation mediation before filing a lawsuit. Similarly, in the case of family disputes, the Family Courts Act, 1984, provides for mandatory pre-litigation mediation.

In addition, the Supreme Court of India has also encouraged the use of pre-litigation mediation and has recommended that parties should attempt to resolve their disputes through alternative dispute resolution mechanisms before approaching the courts.

Voluntary Pre-Litigation Mediation

In cases where pre-litigation mediation is not mandatory, it is still a voluntary process. This means that the parties are free to choose whether or not to participate in pre-litigation mediation. The decision to participate in pre-litigation mediation is entirely up to the parties involved in the dispute, and they cannot be forced to participate.

Benefits of Voluntary Pre-Litigation Mediation

Although participation in pre-litigation mediation is not mandatory in most cases, it can be beneficial for the parties involved. Some of the benefits of pre-litigation mediation are:

  1. Cost-effective: Pre-litigation mediation is generally less expensive than litigation.
  2. Time-efficient: Pre-litigation mediation can resolve disputes more quickly than litigation.
  3. Confidentiality: Pre-litigation mediation is confidential, which means that the parties can discuss sensitive issues without fear of public disclosure.
  4. Control: Pre-litigation mediation provides the parties with more control over the outcome than litigation.
  5. Preserving relationships: Pre-litigation mediation provides a non-confrontational environment for the parties to communicate and negotiate, which can help to preserve relationships.

Conclusion

In conclusion, participation in pre-litigation mediation is not mandatory in most cases. However, it can be a beneficial process for the parties involved. Pre-litigation mediation can be less expensive, more time-efficient, and confidential, and it provides the parties with more control over the outcome. It also provides a non-confrontational environment for the parties to communicate and negotiate, which can help to preserve relationships. Ultimately, the decision to participate in pre-litigation mediation is up to the parties involved in the dispute, and they should carefully consider the potential benefits and drawbacks before making a decision.