Civil jurisdiction represents a crucial critical infrastructure of the democratic constitutional state: 92% out of all cases taken to court are civil matters, only 8% are criminal cases. However, resolving conflicts through lawsuits is always only a measure of last resort. In certain conflict areas and constellations, alternative, consensus-oriented procedures such as mediation can offer more sustainable conflict resolutions that are more conducive to legal peace and subsequently contribute to conflict prevention. Therefore, the Austrian legislator has put in place a legal framework for mediation in the field of civil law in 2004, the Austrian Act on Mediation in Civil Matters (Zivilrechts-Mediations-Gesetz, ZivMediatG).
The MEDIAS research project aims to obtain systematic and meaningful empirical data on the application practice, quality and effectiveness of out-of-court mediation in accordance with the ZivMediatG for the first time in Austria. The study results provide the foundation for an evidence-based advancement of mediative procedures of conflict mediation and the legal framework. In this context, it is also important to analyze the interrelationship between mediation and civil jurisdiction.
The study investigates to what extent and under what circumstances mediative procedures can pose structural risks for the conflict parties, the state jurisdiction as critical infrastructure, and the Austrian legal system. It also investigates experiences with intra-court mediation in Austria, which is not yet legally anchored. The empirical findings are intended to contribute to a beneficial complementary relationship between mediative dispute resolution procedures and judicial control by state civil courts.
The research objectives are achieved through a complex research approach (between-method triangulation). Various quantitative and qualitative methods are interlinked repeatedly in the sense of a mutual complementation. The results obtained are communicated to central stakeholders in a systematic and practice-oriented manner.
Dr. Hemma Mayrhofer, IRKS – Department of Applied Sociology of Law and Criminology,
Bundesministerium für Justiz
Dr. Hemma Mayrhofer
IRKS – Department of Applied Sociology of Law and Criminology
Phone: +43 (0) 512/507 73902