Mutual Agreement to Avoid Civil Trial

Verified 01 January 2022 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry of Justice

Cancelation of the conciliation obligation

Published on 17 November 2022

In a ruling on September 22, 2022, the Conseil d’État annulled article 750-1 of the code of civil procedure, which establishes the obligation of conciliation and mediation prior to litigation.

The amicable agreement or amicable settlement is a compromise negotiated by the opposing parties in a dispute. It avoids litigation and can be used to resolve any civil, family, property or employment dispute. A written document must be signed once an agreement has been reached. It can be validated by a judge.

Amicable agreement can be used only if all parties agree. If one of the parties refuses, a trial is necessary.

The judge may order the parties to a dispute to meet with a conciliator of justice or a mediator before the case is heard in court or at trial.

The amicable agreement may cover all cases concerning civil justice:

  • Accident
  • Divorce
  • Parental authority
  • Dispute with landlord/tenant
  • Dispute with a trader
  • Neighborhood conflicts


an amicable agreement may not be reached in matters relating to civil status (name, parentage...).

Obligation to attempt a settlement before trial

An attempt to reconciliation, of mediation or participatory procedure, at the choice of the parties, is obligatory before any legal action is taken.

This concerns a dispute not exceeding €5,000 or requests for the following disputes:

  • Bounding
  • Certain easements (right of way, water line, sewer...)
  • Distances from plantations (trees and hedges)
  • Respect of distances for certain constructions (e.g. for a well built close to a wall)
  • Ditching of ditches and canals used for irrigation of properties
  • Neighborhood disorder abnormal

Waiver of attempt to reach agreement before trial

The parties shall be exempted from the obligation to attempt conciliation, mediation or participatory proceedings before any legal action in the following cases:

  • One of the parties is requesting approval of an agreement, that is, its validation
  • A prior appeal is mandatory
  • There is a legitimate reason for not doing so (e.g. unavailability of the competent conciliator within a reasonable time)
  • The judge or administrative authority must make an attempt at conciliation in advance. This is the case, for example, if referral to the departmental conciliation board or the amicable appeal board is mandatory before referral to the judge.


in cases of urgency, parties are exempted from an amicable agreement before a trial if they can prove that an agreement cannot be reached (e.g. leakage of water, lack of heating).


Amicable settlement is the agreement of the parties to an arrangement. It avoids a trial.

The parties can agree on compensation, that is to say a sum of money, work to be done, goods to be delivered...

A written undertaking is required for the amicable agreement, which is the purpose of the transaction. This document has legal value and can serve as a proof in a future trial.

A third party may facilitate the agreement. There are 3 choices.

Conciliator of justice

The conciliator of justice may invite the parties to come to the place where it carries out its task. He may also go to the premises and hear any person who is relevant to the conciliation, with the agreement of the conciliation officer.

In the event of conciliation, even partial conciliation, a statement of agreement shall be signed by the parties and the conciliator of justice. A copy shall be given to each party and sent to the registry of the competent court.

The parties may ask the court to validate the finding of agreement by seizing it by a request written.

Who shall I contact

It can be a mediator specialized: civil mediator, family mediator, consumer ombudsman,...

The Ombudsman has no powers of inquiry.

The mediator may receive the parts together or separately.

If there is no amicable agreement, he offers them a solution to settle the dispute, by simple mail or by email.

It shall set a time limit for acceptance or refusal of its proposal.

Lawyer (Participatory Procedure Agreement)

Negotiation between lawyers takes place only after the signature of a first agreement between the parties, called convention on participatory procedure.

The Convention includes various mutual commitments and guarantees. It makes it possible to lay down the terms of the negotiation (time limits, exchange of documents, subject matter of the dispute). The parties shall set a time limit in the agreement during which they may not bring the matter before the court. This period may be reduced or abolished in the event of an emergency.

Who shall I contact

Please note

the limitation period shall be suspended in the event of recourse to conciliation, mediation or a participatory agreement procedure. The period elapsed shall end and resume for a remaining period which may not be less than 6 months, when the negotiation is completed.

Validation of the agreement

Certain arrangements must be validated by the judge in order to be carried out. The parties may seize it by a request to get this agreement approved.

When they are signed by the lawyers of the parties, agreements resulting from mediation, conciliation or participatory proceedings can be executed without going before the judge. The registry of the court shall include the enforcement order, i.e. a statement permitting the enforcement of the agreement.

The cost depends on the intervention of the third party:

  • Conciliation is free of charge.
  • Mediation can be free (consumer dispute mediation) or paid (family or civil mediation) through payment of fees.
  • The participatory procedure is paid, the lawyer is paid by the payment of fees. Depending on your resources, you can to receive legal aid.

An amicable agreement is binding on the parties that have signed it.

A trial may take place if one of the parties fails to comply with the signed agreement or if a dispute persists. The agreement should then be presented as proof of signed commitments.

The competent court depends on the sums involved in the dispute.

  • For a case less than or equal to €10,000, it is the local court or the judicial court.
  • For a case greater than €10,000No, it's the court.
Who shall I contact

Who can help me?

Find who can answer your questions in your region