On 1 January 2019, the recast Republic of Lithuania Law on Conciliatory Mediation in Civil Disputes went into effect; the objective of this law is to promote and enhance the use of mediation in civil disputes, and to establish a unified mediation system.
Mediation is a civil dispute resolution process where one or more mediators (neutral third parties) assist the parties to a dispute in resolving the dispute peacefully. According to the Law on Conciliatory Mediation in Civil Disputes, mediation may be used to resolve civil (i.e. family or other) disputes that are or may be heard by way of civil procedure in court. The parties to the dispute may use this method of dispute settlement both when the dispute is not yet being heard in court (extrajudicial mediation) and when the case is already being heard in court (judicial mediation).
Mediation is applicable on the basis of a written agreement between the parties to the dispute. Mediation can only be agreed to be applied for disputes where the parties thereto are permitted, by law, to conclude a settlement. The parties to the dispute jointly appoint a mediator or, at the joint request of the parties to the dispute, the State-Guaranteed Legal Aid Service may propose candidates for mediators. The main task of the mediator is to help settle the dispute peacefully. It is precisely the aspect that the dispute resolution prerogative belongs to the parties themselves and not to the third party (the arbitrator) that sets mediation apart from other alternative dispute resolution methods (such as arbitration, etc.).
As of 1 January 2019, mediation services can only be provided by people who have passed a special examination (with certain exceptions), who meet other legal requirements (impeccable reputation, university education, mediation training), and who are included on the Republic of Lithuania List of Mediators. The List of Mediators is published on the State-Guaranteed Legal Aid Service website. The mediator is also subject to impartiality and professionalism requirements. Depending on the agreement, mediators provide their services either against payment or free of charge.