File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

Enforceability of Mediation Agreements

For centuries humans have been settling most of their disputes with one or another method, the issue of enforceability is a settled issue in field of court process.[1] On the other hand, mediation lacks clarity in terms of enforceability because of this ambiguity few mediation settlement agreements are not respected and as a result parties revoke from their promise.

The settlement agreement reached by consensus between parties is nothing but an adjustment or a settlement which parties have agreed to, unlike a contract same could not be enforceable unless there is a supporting authority that validates the agreement.[2] The Concept of 'Mediation' was only supported few statutes like, in the Section 89 of Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), Section 30 of the Arbitration And Conciliation Act, 1996 and the Commercial Courts Act. The scope of authorities supporting Mediation was very few, but this all has changed quickly after the enactment of Mediation Act,2023.

Section 19 (1) of the mediation act gives a concrete definition of "settlement agreement" which is:

"An agreement which is in writing between some or all of the parties resulting from mediation, settling some or all of the disputes between such parties, and authenticated by the mediator."[3]

It should be noted that Mediation Agreements have to be in written format only, any agreement that is not written or agreed verbally cannot be enforceable, this can be a shortcoming of the mediation act as courts overworld have ruled that settlements done verbally can be enforceable to. Such as Pascarella vs Bruck. [4]

The number of cases where parties do not respect the settled mediation agreement are very few as the feature of the Mediation that enables the party to take decisions Voluntarily gives them the sense of authority and responsibility of the resulting settlement but on contrary the same feature enables the parties from not following up on the agreed terms and deny from accepting the mediation agreement. In the end the questions rests whether Mediation Agreements are enforceable or not?

Enforcement of Mediation Settlement Agreement under Mediation Act.
Answering the million-dollar question, are mediation agreement enforceable? The short answer to this is YES. Mediation Agreement are enforceable and the provisions under chapter VI deals with the same issue.

A settlement reached between parties in a mediation is binding upon the parties in the same manner as a contract, or as a decree of a court.[5] Hence, an agreement reached by parties in negotiation takes a form of a contract similar to the provisions in the USA and England and same is enforceable as per the provisions of Civil Procedure Code.5

Challenging Mediation Agreement
A mediation agreement can be challenged before a competent court or a tribunal of proper jurisdiction.[6] The ground on which a mediation agreement can be challenged are all or any of the below:
  • Fraud;
  • Corruption.
  • Impersonation;
  • If the mediation is conducted for disputes not fit for mediation. As specified under Schedule 1 of the act, which are disputes which are prescribed against mediation by virtue of any law for the time being, disputes relating to minors, deities; disable person.[7] Matters involving criminal offences and others included in first schedule.
An application for challenging the mediated settlement agreement shall not be made after ninety days have elapsed from the date of from receiving the copy of mediated settlement.6

The provisions listed above explains the aspects of enforceability of mediation agreement and appealing against an invalid mediation agreement. This compulsion of binding the mediation upon the parties may seem against the pillar of the mediation of Voluntary nature of mediation, but this limitation is necessary to promote and make mediation a viable option. If this compulsion would not exist it would lead to parties agreeing to the conditions in the agreement for the sake of agreeing but not following up to same. Therefore, compulsion to perform the agreement is required to cultivate mediation in India.

It is also necessary to understand the reasons parties back out of settlement the reasons can be out of many factors, but to outline some are:
  • Malice.
  • After thought of the practicality of the solution.
  • Knowledge of certain new facts or information.
  • Desire for more than what previously agreed to.
  • Duress during the mediation.
  • Meet the demands of individuals not present in the mediation session.
  • Finding other remedy that has better relief.
Most of the reasons listed above are of preventable nature, revocation from a mediation agreement due to above factors can be prevented by a mediator with experience, as the behavior of parties throughout the mediation settlement can hint whether they are inclusive in the process. If the mediator feels like they are not interested in reaching to a settlement or confused about the process, he can take initiative to clear any type of misunderstanding or confusion.

The ambiguity of a mediation agreement whether being enforceable has been answered and conferred by the Court in the Mediation Act,2023 which makes it enforceable, however the limitations make it that only that the written agreements are enforceable, leaving out the verbal agreements, this leaves another vacuum unanswered questions and complications about the verbal agreements.

It is necessary to make provisions for enforceability of the agreement, as this is a necessary evil for betterment of Mediation in the country. Chapter VI of the Mediation Act is the heart of the act as this solves the huge issue which was enforceability of the mediation agreement.

  1. Fiss, Against Settlement, 93 YALE L. J. 1073, 1084-85 (1984).
  2. Enforceability of the Mediation Outcome | Pg. 20 Paragh (1)
  3. Section 19 (1) of Mediation Act, 2023
  4. 190 N.J. Super. 118
  5. Section 27 of Mediation Act.
  6. Section 28 of Mediation Act.
  7. First Schedule of Mediation Act.

Law Article in India

Ask A Lawyers

You May Like

Legal Question & Answers

Lawyers in India - Search By City

Copyright Filing
Online Copyright Registration


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi Mutual Consent Divorce is the Simplest Way to Obtain a D...

Increased Age For Girls Marriage


It is hoped that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which intends to inc...

Facade of Social Media


One may very easily get absorbed in the lives of others as one scrolls through a Facebook news ...

Section 482 CrPc - Quashing Of FIR: Guid...


The Inherent power under Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (37th Chapter of t...

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India: A...


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a concept that proposes the unification of personal laws across...

Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Legal...


Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various sectors of the economy, and the legal i...

Lawyers Registration
Lawyers Membership - Get Clients Online

File caveat In Supreme Court Instantly