Bulgaria

Mediation is a relatively new institute in the Bulgarian legal system and regulations, normatively settled alternative method for out-of-court settlement of legal and other disputes.

The efforts for the legal regulation of mediation in Bulgaria achieved success in December in 2004 when the Mediation Act (hereinafter referred to as the MA) was adopted. (Promulgated in State Gazette No. 110/17.12.2004, last amended, SG No. 27/1 April 2011).

Significant role for the increase of the practical implementation of mediation had also the new Civil Procedure Code (Promulgated, State Gazette No. 59/20.07.2007, effective 1.03.2008, last amended, SG No.5/14 January 2011). Several provisions thereof set out the necessary procedural measures for applying mediation in pending court cases and established an initial legal basis for connection between mediation and civil proceedings.

In addition to these two legal instruments Ordinance No. 2 of 15.03.2007 (last amended in April 2011, SG No. 29/8 April 2011). on the implementation of art.8 of the Mediation Act (regarding the registration rules for mediators and training organizations and the rules of procedural and ethical conduct for mediators), contributed to the quality of mediation and mediators by setting minimum standards for mediation training, and requirements for certification of mediators and training institutions.

Mediation in Bulgaria is developing with the active participation of several NGOs, with the efforts of many mediators in their personal capacity, as well with the efforts of a group of trained judges.  

To foster the court referred mediation, a Settlement Center at the biggest Bulgarian court – the Sofia Regional Court, was officially opened in the first quarter of 2010. Within this program parties in cases pending before the Sofia Regional Court have the opportunity to receive information and consultation on the advantages of mediation and other ADR and to receive professional assistance for resolving their case at the Court Settlement Centre.

In turn, the Sofia City Court has been referring cases to the Center since 2011.The results of this 3 year period show that this is one of the largest and most successful legal centers in Europe.