Mediation is always the primary means of trying to resolve a dispute. In particular, this applies to real estate disputes. Almost all disputes can be resolved through mediation, if only both parties genuinely strive for it. A large part of housing transaction disputes can be settled even before the trial or at the latest during it.

Mediation can be promoted in a pending dispute in a preparatory session or later even in the court of appeals. You can also try to settle the matter in the Consumer Disputes Board (Kuluttajariitalautakunta).

If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the matter or part of it can be taken to a separate so-called court for mediation. This can be done at any stage before the trial or even if the case is already pending in court and even if it has already been decided the district court's judgment even after that. Nowadays, the Court of Appeals has also emphasized the importance of mediation and it is offered to the parties if the appeal is accepted for processing.

Lawyers play a key role in initiating mediation by trying to make the principal understand the benefits of mediation. It is the lawyer who should primarily try to seek a settlement because this is in the principal's interest. The buyer/seller should think about different settlement options and discuss them with their lawyer. A lawyer must know the legal practice and have experience in the trials of the disputes in question in order to be able to evaluate the different alternative outcomes of the case. The fact is, however, that no one knows how the matter will end until all the evidence has been presented at the main hearing of the dispute. And this risk is managed through mediation.

So why settle the matter:
1. Let's avoid the risk of legal fees in a losing situation (typically 30-60,000e).
2. We will receive a decision on the matter within 2.3 months.
3. Let's avoid 2-4 years of suffering.
4. Let's get the legal costs risk under control.
5. Let's get ahead right away, e.g. with repairs.
and so on.

Settlement always means a compromise in demands. Sometimes you see requirements that are deliberately exaggerated in order to offer a "better compromise". This is pointless and only complicates settlement discussions. Excessive demands may even prevent mediation. Some of the demands are typically clearly justified and some are unclear, e.g. whether an error was visible or what the repair costs are. You have to come to a compromise on these. Conciliation is typically trading where the price is reduced to a tolerable amount.

The following questions are typically raised in the mediation of housing transaction disputes:
1. Has the seller provided all the information he knows? Even if the buyer imagines this, this is evaluated objectively, i.e. based on the displayed display. It's often just the case that the seller didn't know about the mistake.

2. Should the buyer have understood that when buying an old detached house, he must also prepare for, for example, the repair of drainage ditches? Here we use the so-called technical service life as an evaluation aid, although it alone does not solve the issue. But the older the house, the more repairs. The importance of this aspect in mediation is often on display.

3. Has the buyer himself caused the error or made it worse? You can ask an expert about this.

4. Is something a mistake or just a structural solution of its time, which is not a mistake as defined by the Housing Sales Act or the land arch?

5. When estimating repair costs, all estimates are set in the future, so there can be disagreements about their amount. According to the seller, a false plinth defect can be fixed for 500e/m, and according to the buyer, it will cost at least 1000e/m. This can be traded in mediation, but if the court decides it, then the decision will be made based on the evidence presented when there is a dispute in the process.

6. When repairing, the value of the apartment increases, so not all repair costs can be reimbursed. That's how it is. And this upgrade is the one that can be negotiated. E.g. if the repair cost of the building is €10,000, of which 40% is partly level improvement (taking into account the age, new waterproofing and tiles, etc.). 60% (kph structures) is the responsibility of the seller and 40% of which can be agreed upon, e.g. 20% is the responsibility of the seller and 20% the buyer.
7. Sometimes the seller should propose and/or agree to a demolition contract and get to correct the mistake himself and sell the apartment again. The settlement is then based on the repayment periods of the purchase price, the amount of the purchase price to be returned, etc., etc.


District Court of Central Finland.

What is mediation and what is it not?

Mediation is a conversation where, in addition to the parties, a mediator and possibly the parties' own lawyers are present. The main focus of mediation is on the discussion between the parties, which is supported by the mediator. The discussion can be about any conflict between the parties, if the parties themselves want it. Mediation is NOT just about settling disputed issues.

How can I go to mediation?

Mediation can be requested with a free-form mediation application, which must mention the parties, contact information and a brief description of the dispute or conflict. The application can be made in writing or by e-mail ( If the matter is already pending as a trial, the party can freely request mediation. In court cases, the district court also sends the parties a separate form on the choice of procedure. Starting mediation requires the consent of all parties.

What does mediation cost?

The district court application fee mediation is 250 euros (Ministry of Justice's regulation on certain court application fees § 2). For comparison, starting a case as a trial costs 500 euros (Section 2 of the Court Fees Act). If the court case moves to mediation, the fee remains at 500 euros, but no separate fee is charged for mediation. If the mediation application does not lead to the initiation of mediation because the other party does not agree to it, the application fee is 100 euros. Therefore, before submitting a mediation application, you should ask the other party if they would agree to mediation. The parties can also submit a mediation application together. If the party receives legal aid, no application or court fee is charged.

Can I come to mediation without a lawyer?

You can come, but sometimes having your own lawyer can be very useful in mediation. Check with a lawyer whether the possible legal security insurance covers mediation. Legal aid covers mediation, i.e. the lawyer's fee is paid from state funds according to the deductible percentage.

What is the mediator's role?

The mediator's task is to create a peaceful atmosphere and promote discussion and interaction between the parties. Usually, in a conflict, the interaction between the parties has become negative or is non-existent. The mediator listens to all parties and helps the parties to listen to each other. The mediator does not decide the matter on behalf of the parties and does not even express his own opinion. The mediator is a district judge by profession, but in the mediation he does not act in the role of a judge.

Is the mediator impartial?

Yes. The mediator is not on anyone's side, but on everyone's side. The mediator is interested in the parties and their conflict, but he himself has no opinion on how the dispute should be resolved. The mediator is subject to the same accessibility regulations as the judge.

What is the party's role in mediation?

The parties talk about their own needs and wishes and listen to the needs and wishes of the other party. Often, understanding the other party eases the conflict. The parties themselves are responsible for a possible solution and its content.

Will I be listened to in mediation?

Yes. One of the mediator's most important tasks is to listen to the parties. Listening is active, i.e. the mediator shows that he is interested in the party and his problems and various needs. According to research, in mediation, the parties get the experience of being heard clearly more often than in promoting a settlement or in a trial.

What is the lawyer's role in mediation?

The lawyer carefully prepares for mediation with the party, for example by discussing difficult issues and considering possible solution options. In mediation, the lawyer supports the party in all phases, both in the mediation room and during breaks. In the final phase of the mediation, the lawyer usually takes an active part in formulating the terms of the settlement.

Where is the mediation session held?

In the district court, in a special mediation room where everyone sits at the same table.

How quickly can a mediation session be arranged? Usually 1-3 per month. The session time is agreed together. Who is present at the mediation?

The parties themselves, the mediator and any lawyers of the parties. If the party is a company or an organization, the CEO or board members can be present, for example.

How long does a mediation session last?

Normally 2-3 hours, but sometimes mediation can take longer. It is possible to continue the mediation later, for example if the parties need more information on a certain matter.

What issues can be dealt with in mediation?

Any issues that are important to the parties. Mediation does not have to be only about money or legal issues. In mediation, you can discuss needs, wishes, feelings, apologizing, relationships, reputation...

What if a settlement is not reached in mediation?

The parties can continue settlement negotiations at a later date, or the dispute can be dealt with in court, where a judge will decide the matter.

What does it mean that mediation is "confidential"?

If the handling of the dispute continues as a trial, the parties may not refer to anything that the other party has stated in the settlement. The mediator will not tell anyone about the content of the mediation, and especially not to the judge who will later deal with the matter.

Will the processing of the case be delayed due to mediation?

No. The aim is to arrange mediation quickly, and if the matter returns to court, it will return to the so-called to its normal place (start-up order).

What if you can't talk to the other party?

It is often very difficult to discuss with the other party in a conflict. However, the mediation takes place in a safe and calm environment, where the discussion can very well be successful, especially if the mediator is able to support a constructive discussion.

Can feelings be expressed in mediation?

Yes. The safe environment of mediation also enables the expression and processing of emotions in a constructive way. Many times the issue in conflict is specifically emotional issues.

Can we talk about law in mediation?

Yes. Sometimes an obstacle to reconciliation is the parties' different interpretations of the application of the law. If the parties so wish, the lawyers and the mediator are free to discuss legal matters as well.

Why would mediation be a better procedure than litigation?

In mediation, it is possible that the parties begin to better understand each other's perspectives and procedure. In mediation, cooperation between the parties is possible. The trial is based on a confrontation between the parties, where one tries to win over the other. Mediation is faster and cheaper than litigation. In mediation, the parties themselves try to resolve their dispute, unlike in a trial, where the parties hand over decision-making power to an outsider.

How does mediation differ from promoting reconciliation?

In mediation, the conflict can be discussed more widely than in the promotion of reconciliation. The parties themselves, not the lawyers, play the main role in mediation. The role of a mediator differs significantly from the role of a reconciliation promoter. See add the project plan of the mediation project on December 7, 2015.

Is mediation easy and simple?

No. Mediation requires courage to face the other party and discuss difficult issues with him. Mediation requires taking responsibility for handling the problem.

What if the settlement is later broken?

The mediator can confirm the settlement, in which case it can be enforced through foreclosure. Agreements made in mediation are usually fulfilled voluntarily.

Topi Kilpeläinen, district judge