Mediation in civil justice: international evidence review

Available literature and evidence on mediation in civil justice (civil/commercial) in five international jurisdictions: Australia, Canada, England and Wales, Ireland, and the USA.


The Justice Vision contains a commitment to 'empowering our people and communities to exercise their rights and responsibilities, to resolve disputes and other civil justice problems at the earliest opportunity'. There is growing interest within Scotland and internationally in the role of mediation as a mechanism for resolving disputes. For example, the Republic of Ireland has recently introduced a Mediation Act (2017) as a mechanism for providing a statutory framework for mediation. Justice Analytical Services has therefore undertaken a review of available evidence on mediation in the civil justice systems of five jurisdictions (Australia; Canada; England and Wales; the USA; and the Republic of Ireland to a more limited extent) to better understand the international landscape of mediation, its operation, and effectiveness.

Purpose of the Review

This review has been undertaken for policy colleagues in the Scottish Government. We understand it will support the work of Scottish Mediation, who are responsible for undertaking a research project that aims to develop a range of policy options that will increase and encourage the effective use of mediation in resolving civil disputes.

The purpose of this Review is to:

  • Provide a descriptive account of the operation of mediation in the civil justice systems in selected jurisdictions.
  • Explore and assess available evidence on mediation as a tool for resolving disputes in these jurisdictions.

Out of Scope

This Review focuses on exploring the evidence base in the selected jurisdictions noted above only; the wider evidence base on mediation was not included.

The Review focuses on mediation in civil/commercial actions; mediation in family actions and in administrative justice are both out of scope.

Finally, this Review focuses on mediation exclusively, rather than any other type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method.



Back to top