What is the Mediate First Movement?

June 30, 2023

1. Introduction to the Mediate First Movement

The Mediate First Movement has emerged as a powerful and transformative approach to resolving conflicts and disputes.


The Mediate First Movement started in Hong Kong in 2009 by the Department of Justice of Hong Kong Special Administrative Regions (DOJ) to encourage the wider use of mediation in resolving disputes. The campaign was developed by the DOJ to encourage companies and organisations to pledge,to use mediation as a first step in resolving disputes, before resorting to traditional litigation.


As traditional litigation processes have become increasingly burdened with lengthy court backlogs, high costs, and adversarial dynamics, there is a growing recognition of the need for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods. Mediation, in particular, has gained significant attention as an effective and efficient means of resolving conflicts,facilitating communication, and preserving relationships. This blog explores the Mediate First Movement, delving into its origins, the role of mediation,the benefits it offers, and the challenges and strategies involved in implementing this approach. By embracing mediation as a primary step in conflict resolution, individuals and organizations can foster a culture of collaboration and achieve more satisfactory outcomes.

1. Introduction to the Mediate First Movement

Defining Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

When conflicts arise, traditional litigation often seems like the go-to solution. However, over time, there has been a growing realization that there are more efficient and collaborative ways to resolve disputes. This shift in mindset has given rise to the Mediate First Movement, which promotes the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods such as mediation as the initial step in conflict resolution.

The Evolution of the Mediate First Movement

The Mediate First Movement has gained momentum in recent years as people recognise the limitations and drawbacks of traditional litigation. The movement advocates for a shift away from the adversarial approach, with its focus on winning and losing, and towards a more cooperative and constructive resolution process. By encouraging parties to mediate first, this movement aims to foster communication, preserve relationships, and save time and money.


The DOJ launched the Mediate First Pledge Star Logo Award Scheme (Award Scheme) in June 2017. Under the Award Scheme, the DOJ will award Star Logos to Pledgees who demonstrated they have met one or more of the nine criteria for using or promoting mediation.


The nine criteria are:


  1. “A Pledgee has prepared and/or distribute promotional materials on     mediation to its employees, subsidiaries, business partners, counterparts,     customers, family and/or friends, etc.”
  2. “A Pledgee has included or agreed to include a mediation clause in     any contracts made by the Pledgee.”
  3. “A Pledgee has adopted/ followed guidelines to staff to handle     customer complaints/ workplace disputes by using mediation skills.”
  4. “A Pledgee has obtained satisfactory resources on the use of     mediation in handling complaints or disputes as evidenced by questionnaires     or other written feedback.”
  5. “A Pledgee has organised or assisted in organising training on     mediation. e.g. seminar or workshop for its staff, or has nominated its     staff or has encouraged/invited others to attend mediation-related     training courses or seminars.”
  6. “Any staff of a Company and Organisation/Association Pledgee or an Individual     Pledgee has attended a mediation training course (e.g. Stage 1 Training     Course on Mediation).”
  7. “Any staff of a Company and Organisation/Association Pledgee, or an     Individual Pledgee is a accredited mediator.”
  8. “A Pledgee has attempted to resolve dispute with any person through     mediation and the number of such attempts are provided.”
  9. “A Pledgee has otherwise taken steps to promote the use of     mediation to settle disputes and is able to provide details of the steps     so taken.”




2. The Need for Alternative Dispute Resolution

Challenges with Traditional Litigation

Traditional litigation can be a lengthy and costly process. It often involves hiring attorneys, gathering evidence, and presenting arguments in court. This approach is not only time-consuming but can also result in strained relationships between the parties involved. Moreover, the outcome is ultimately determined by a judge or jury, making it a less predictable and controllable process.

Rising Demand for Efficient and Cost-effective Conflict Resolution

As our society becomes increasingly fast-paced and cost-conscious, there is a growing demand for conflict resolution methods that are both efficient and cost-effective. Parties involved in disputes are seeking alternatives to litigation that can help them save time, money, and energy. Alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, have emerged as viable options that meet these demands.

3. Understanding the Role of Mediation

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary process where a neutral third party, known as a mediator, facilitates communication and negotiation between the disputing parties. Unlike litigation, where the judge or jury decides the outcome, mediation empowers the parties to actively participate in finding mutually agreeable solutions. The mediator helps guide the conversation, encourages understanding and empathy, and assists in identifying common ground.

The Role of the Mediator

The mediator plays a crucial role in the mediation process. They are not there to impose a solution but rather to help the parties explore options and reach a mutually satisfactory agreement. With their expert facilitation skills and knowledge of conflict resolution techniques, mediators create a safe and constructive environment for open dialogue. They encourage active listening, manage emotions, and ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to be heard.

4. Benefits of Adopting Mediation as a First Step

Promoting Communication and Collaboration

One of the key benefits of adopting mediation as a first step in conflict resolution is its ability to promote communication and collaboration. By engaging in open dialogue and actively listening to each other's perspectives, parties can better understand the issues at hand. This fosters collaboration and increases the likelihood of finding creative and mutually beneficial solutions.

Preserving Relationships

Unlike litigation, which often leaves parties with a sense of bitterness and animosity, mediation aims to preserve relationships. By providing a non-adversarial environment, mediation allows parties to address their concerns and find common ground without damaging their relationship further. This is particularly crucial in situations where ongoing interactions or future collaborations are necessary between the parties involved.

Cost and Time Efficiency

Mediation is generally a more cost and time-efficient method of dispute resolution compared to traditional litigation.By avoiding lengthy court proceedings and attorney fees, parties can save significant amounts of money. Moreover, mediation allows parties to resolve their disputes promptly, as it does not rely on the court's schedule. This efficiency makes mediation an attractive option for those looking for quick and cost-effective conflict resolution.

The Mediate First Movement has emerged as a response to the limitations of traditional litigation. By promoting alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation, this movement aims to provide a more efficient, collaborative, and cost-effective approach to resolving conflicts.By adopting mediation as a first step, parties can enhance communication,preserve relationships, and save valuable time and resources.


5. eBRAM International Online Dispute Resolution

What is eBRAM?


eBRAM stands for Electronic Business Related Arbitration and Mediation(eBRAM).

eBRAM is an independent and non-profit organisation with the mission to evaluate Hong Kong’s arbitration and mediation services and expand cross-border dispute resolution by utilising online mediation services.  eBRAM  


eBRAM’s mission is to provide a one-stop, speedy and cost-effective online dispute resolution (ODR), promote collaborations with dispute resolution institutions, legal professional bodies, international chambers of commerce.

6. Overcoming Challenges and Resistance to Mediation

Misperceptions and Stereotypes about Mediation

Despite its proven benefits, mediation still faces some resistance due to misconceptions and stereotypes. Some people believe that mediation is only suitable for minor disputes or that it's a sign of weakness to seek mediation. Addressing these misperceptions requires spreading awareness about the effectiveness of mediation in resolving a wide range of conflicts and highlighting its empowering nature. Mediation is not about surrendering, but about finding mutually agreeable solutions that can save both time and money.

Addressing Concerns and Building Trust

To overcome resistance to mediation, it's important to address concerns and build trust in the process. Transparency regarding the mediation process, confidentiality assurances, and clear expectations can help alleviate fears and make participants more comfortable engaging in mediation. It's also crucial to provide information about the qualifications and training of mediators to assure participants of their neutrality and expertise. Building trust takes time, but through consistent positive experiences and testimonials, more individuals and organizations can be convinced of the value of mediation.

7. Implementing Mediation First: Best Practices and Strategies

Integrating Mediation into Legal Systems

One of the key aspects of implementing mediation as a first step in conflict resolution is integrating it into existing legal systems. This can be achieved by educating judges, lawyers, and court personnel about the benefits of mediation and how it can complement traditional legal processes. Incorporating mediation referral programs within the legal framework encourages parties to engage in mediation before resorting to litigation. By establishing strong collaborations between legal professionals and mediators, a seamless transition between the two approaches can be achieved.

Educating Stakeholders and Encouraging Adoption

Another important step in implementing the mediate first movement is educating stakeholders about the advantages of mediation. Whether it's businesses, educational institutions, community organizations, or government agencies, spreading awareness through workshops,seminars, and informative materials can help overcome resistance and encourage adoption. Sharing success stories and statistics that demonstrate the positive impact of mediation can be persuasive in convincing stakeholders to give mediation a try. Additionally, offering incentives such as reduced legal fees or faster resolution times can further promote the adoption of mediation as the primary step in conflict resolution.


8. Conclusion: Embracing the Mediate First Movement for Effective Conflict Resolution

In conclusion, the Mediate First Movement presents a compelling case for adopting mediation as a primary approach to conflict resolution. By shifting away from traditional litigation and embracing the principles of alternative dispute resolution, individuals and organisation scan experience numerous benefits. From promoting effective communication and collaboration to preserving relationships and reducing costs, mediation offers a more efficient and satisfactory resolution process. However, it is crucial to address misconceptions and resistance surrounding mediation while implementing best practices and strategies. By embracing the Mediate First Movement, we can create a culture of productive conflict resolution and pave the way for more harmonious and just outcomes.


Hong Kong is seeking to consolidate its strategic position as a centre for International Legal and Dispute Resolution Services with the “Resolve2Win”campaign. The promotion visit to Thailand was to let Thai businesses understand the advantages of Hong Kong’s legal services and raise awareness of resolving commercial dispute through mediation and arbitration. Encouraging the use of Hong Kong’s Resolution Platform

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