Mediation was introduced to Ukraine at the end of the last century by the IFC and some other international development institutions. Before that, the word ‘mediation’ did not exist in the Ukrainian language and Ukrainian law did not recognise any alternative dispute settlement but arbitration. For the past three to four years the awareness of the legal community, government officials and other stakeholders about mediation as an effective tool for settling disputes has been significantly increased. However, many potential consumers of mediation services still think that mediation is just some form of ‘meditation’ and are sceptical when told about mediation and the benefits it may offer.

The slow pace of mediation in Ukraine can be partially explained by the predominantly hostile attitude towards this process held by the vast majority of lawyers – a phenomenon common for all jurisdictions in the early phase of mediation development. In addition, some experts think the major obstacle for the spread of mediation is that this type of dispute settlement has not been yet formally introduced into the Ukrainian legal system by either passing a special law on mediation (the ‘Law on Mediation’) or amending existing legislation.

The issue of whether a Law on Mediation is required to push mediation development in Ukraine is controversial and widely debated, as many mediators and other experts think the country should follow the path of those jurisdictions with no official regulation of mediation. Even though there are pros and cons of both positions, it seems a Law on Mediation could indeed trigger mediation development in Ukraine.

Oct-Dec 2013 issue

ICC Ukraine