Mediation Boards Act. No. 72 of 1988 provides for the establishment of Mediation Boards. Immediately upon the introduction of the Mediation Boards by the operation of the Act, arrangements were made to commence the establishment of Mediation Boards throughout the country covering all most all the Divisional Secretary’s Divisions Island wide. In particular, the establishment of these Mediation Boards has offered a unique opportunity for speedy settlement of minor disputes in which it operates as a strong mechanism for the settlement of disputes as an alternative mean to litigation. At present, there are 329 Mediation Boards throughout the island and approximately 8,266 mediators are assisting people on voluntary basis enabling them to reach an amicable settlement to their dispute some of which have dragged upon for years.

The Mediation Boards Commission comprises of 05 (five) members. Three of them are statutorily required to be retired judges of the Superior Courts. All these members are appointed by His Excellency the President. The administration activities of the Mediation Panel Boards viz. appointment, transfers, dismissal and disciplinary control are charged by the Mediation Boards Commission.

Mediators act as a third party in settlement of disputes among the parties. Efficiency of the Mediation Panel Boards may be evaluated on the basis of the number of disputes which such Boards receive per annum.

Upon widely acclaiming the mediation by the community as a convenient and low cost mechanism in resolving their disputes. The interest shown by the public towards the mediation becomes on the increase at an unprecedented level. This amply demonstrates by the fact that more than 100,000/- disputes have been referred to the Mediation Boards annually.

Progress from 1st January to September 2016

Description No. of Disputes
Reference of Disputes to Mediation 115,780
Settlement of Disputes by Mediation 46,443
Percentage of Settlement of Disputes 40%

Disputes received at Provincial Level from 01.01.2016 to 30.09.2016

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Special Land Mediation Boards
  • Jaffna
  • Kilinochchi
  • Batticaloa
  • Trincomalee
  • Anuradhapura

Principal Objective

The Act provides for the legal framework necessary for institutionalizing Mediation Boards, which are empowered to resolve, by the process of mediation, all disputes referred to it by disputing parties as well as in certain instances, by Courts.

Procedure for Appointment of Mediators

  • The Commission upon nominations made by Organizations of the area, and consequent to a training course makes the appointment of Mediators to Panels.
  • In order to ensure that Mediators are impartial and are free of any political bias, the Act specifies that only Organizations of a non-political character can nominate persons for appointment to Mediation panels.
  • An important aspect of the appointment procedure is that nominated persons are required to undergo a training course in mediation skills and techniques (conducted by Mediator Trainers) at which the aptitude of the nominees is assessed. The Commission appoints as Mediators only such persons as are reported to possess the required aptitude, skills and techniques.
  • In implementing the Mediation Boards Act, much emphasis is placed on the training of Mediators and of Mediator Trainers.

Disputes Which Can be Referred to Mediation

The Act seeks to distinguish between disputes which must mandatorily be referred for Mediation (prior to the filing of any action in respect of such dispute, in Court) and other disputes which may voluntarily be referred for Mediation by the choice of the parties. There is also provision for disputes to be referred for mediation by Court.

Mediation Proceedings

Upon an application being made to a Panel of Mediators to settle a dispute arising within its area, the dispute is referred to a Board, which consists of three members of the Panel constituted according to the preferences of the disputants. The Board may either be a pre-constituted one selected by the disputants or its members may be individually selected according to the choice of the parties from amongst Panel members. Upon the reference of a dispute to a Board, the Board is required.

Commercial Mediation

The concept of Mediation has also been institutionalized through the Commercial Mediation Centre of Sri Lanka Act, No. 44 of 2000. The Commercial Mediation Centre of Sri Lanka (CMCSL) established there under was launched on September 12th, 2000 and is statutorily mandated to promote the wider acceptance of Mediation and conciliation for the resolution and settlement of commercial disputes; to encourage parties to resolve commercial disputes by mediation and conciliation; and to conduct the settlement of commercial disputes by mediation and conciliation. The Center has formulated its own Rules in terms of which mediation sessions are required to be conducted and in respect of the fees payable. There is also a Code of Conduct for the Mediators. The ADR initiative was taken at the request of the private sector community which expressed a dire need for a more expeditious and efficient dispute resolution mechanism in relation to commercial matters. The establishment of this Centre was a response to that need which calls for efficacy, values and speed.

Panels of Mediators

Mediators are appointed to constitute a Panel of Mediators for a defined territorial area.  Its members are persons of the community and it enjoys territorial jurisdiction within its defined administrative area. Each Panel appointed for a Mediation Board Area is required to consist of a minimum of twelve members which may include up to five public officers nominated by the District Secretary for the area.

  • A Chairman appointed by the Commission heads every Panel of Mediators.
  • Mediators function on a purely voluntary capacity and are not paid any remuneration other than a nominal allowance to cover travel expenses.

Community Mediation

In 1988, the Mediation Boards Act No. 72 of 1988 was passed by Parliament. The Act provides for the legal framework for institutionalizing Mediation Boards, which are empowered to resolve by the process of mediation, all disputes referred to it by disputing parties as well as in certain instances, buy courts. A large number of the disputes handled by the boards related to community disputes. However, Banks have increasingly been referring issues regarding debts as well. (MEDIATION BOARDS ACT NO. 72 OF 1988)

Mediation Special Categories

In 2003, Mediation (Special Categories of Disputes) Act was passed by Parliament. Under this Act a gazette notification was published making provisions with regard to the settlement through Mediation of any dispute relating to debt, damage or demand which has arisen as a result of the Tsunami that occurred on December, 26th 2004.

Mediators Trainers

There is a permanent cadre of Mediator Trainers in the Ministry of Justice. These officers  are given periodical refresher courses and are required to conduct training courses for Mediators throughout the island on a regular basis. It is firmly believed that training in the skills and techniques of mediation is of the essence if mediation efforts are to achieve results. Mediator Trainers are only engaged in the task of training and do not mediate in any disputes, which are referred to Panels of Mediators.


Ministry of Justice's New Building,
80, Court Road,
Colombo 12.

+94 112 334 323
+94 112 334 323

Secretary Office

+94 112 334 815

Administrative Officer

+94 112 334 261

Training Unit

+94 112 334 258