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Mediation Boards Commission


The principal features of the Mediation Boards  Act, No. 72 of 1988 as amended by Act, No. 15 of 1997 are as follows:

Principal objective

bullet2 The Act provides for the legal framework necessary for institutionalising 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.

The Mediation Boards Commission

bullet2 The Mediation Boards Commission (the Commission) consists of five members appointed by the President for a period of three years. Three of the members are required to be from among persons who have held judicial office in the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal (the highest courts in the land), one of whom is appointed as Chairman of the Commission.

bullet2 The Commission is vested with the power of appointing Mediators. It is also vested with powers of dismissal and disciplinary control of Mediators and of supervising and controlling the performance and discharge of the functions and duties of Mediators.

bullet2 The Commission functions as an independent body and the mandatory inclusion therein of persons of the caliber of retired Judges of the Appellate Courts is an attempt to ensure its independence and inspire confidence in its impartiality.

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 Contact Details of Mediation Board  



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 Organisations 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.


There are 5,475 trained Mediators functioning in the Country as at October 1999.










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.

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.

bullet2 Upon the reference of a dispute to a Board, the Board is required 

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 both efficacy, values and speed. Although the passage of the Law was initiated by government, the intention is that the effort should be

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 upto five public officers nominated by the District Secretary for the area.

A Chairman appointed by the Commission heads every Panel of Mediators.

Since the commencement of the implementation of the Act (in 1990), Panels of Mediators have been appointed, as at October 1999 to 238 Mediation Board Areas in the country.

Mediators function on a purely voluntary capacity and are not paid any remuneration other than a nominal allowance to cover travel expenses.

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) Telephone Numbers

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.

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.


 to the Act sets out the exempted categories of actions. These are, Actions relating to  - matrimonial disputes; persons and estates of persons of unsound mind, minors and wards; guardians, curators and receivers; trusts; applications for adoption of children; applications under the Registration of Births and Deaths Ordinance; Partition; Testamentary and  Actions under the Insolvency Ordinance; Admiralty Actions; Election Petitions; Fundamental Rights applications in the Supreme Court; Mortgage Act; Breaches of the privileges of Parliament and Actions relating to applications which were pending before the Debt Conciliation Board on the date of commencement of this Act or which have finally  been dealt with by the Debt Conciliation Board by settlement or dismissal of the application.


 to the Act sets out the offences with reference to the Penal Code section. The offences (and the sections) are


[3] Section 10, Mediation Boards Act, No. 72 of 1988.

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