There is a general rule in the Civil Procedure Code that the judge should encourage the parties to settle their dispute at any stage of the proceedings. Mediation may be conducted before commencement of proceedings or during the course of the proceedings. The court may direct the parties to mediation only once during the course of the proceedings, but mediation is voluntary. It is conducted on the basis of an agreement between the parties and the mediator, or on the basis of a court decision. During the course of the proceedings, after the first hearing, the court may direct the parties to mediation, but only on their unanimous motion. Mediation is confidential. A settlement before a mediator is equivalent to one concluded before a court.
The lower costs attached to mediation are an inducement for businesses to undertake this means of dispute resolution, and requests for mediation are becoming more and more common.