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In April 2002 the European Commission published a discussion paper on alternative dispute resolution. In July 2004 the Commission organised the launch of a Code of Conduct for Mediators which was approved and adopted by a large number of Mediation experts and in October 2004 the Commission adopted and submitted to the European Parliament and the Council a proposal for a Directive on certain aspects of mediation in civil and commercial matters. The Directive was adopted on 23rd April 2008.

The Green Paper, the Code of Conduct and the Directive on mediation all form part of the European Community’s current work on establishing an area of freedom, security and justice, and particularly on improving access to justice. It is the Commission’s view that encouraging the use of Mediation and other forms of ADR assists in the resolution of disputes and helps to avoid the worry, time and cost associated with court-based litigation and so assists citizens in a real way to secure their legal rights.

For more information, please go to http://ec.europa.eu/civiljustice/adr/adr_ec_en.htm.