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Mutual agreement to avoid civil trial

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

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

The friendly 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 judicial conciliator or mediator before the court case or at the trial.

The amicable agreement may cover all cases concerning civil justice:

  • Accident
  • Divorce
  • Parental Authority
  • Owner/tenant dispute
  • Merchant Dispute
  • Neighbourhood conflicts


an amicable agreement cannot be reached in matters relating to civil status (name, filiation...).

Obligation to attempt an amicable settlement before a trial

An attempt to conciliation, mediation or participatory procedure, at the option of the parties, mandatory before any legal action.

This is for litigation not exceeding €5 000 or claims for the following disputes:

  • Boundary
  • Some easements (right of way, water main, sewer ...)
  • Distances of plantations (trees and hedges)
  • Respect of distances for certain constructions (for example for a well built close to a wall)
  • Curage of ditches and canals used for irrigation of properties
  • Abnormal Neighbourhood Disorder

Waiver of attempted settlement before trial

The parties shall be exempted from the obligation to attempt conciliation, mediation or participatory procedure before any application for a court hearing in the following cases:

  • One of the parties requests the approval of an agreement, i.e. its validation
  • Prior appeal is mandatory
  • A legitimate reason prevents this (e.g., the absence of the competent conciliator within a reasonable time)
  • The judge or the administrative authority must make an attempt at prior conciliation. This is the case, for example, if it is mandatory to refer the matter to the Departmental Conciliation Commission or the Board of Amicable Appeal before referring the matter to the judge.


in case of emergency, the parties are exempted by mutual agreement before a trial if they justify the impossibility of reaching an agreement (e.g. water leakage, lack of heating).


An amicable agreement is for the parties to agree on an arrangement. It avoids a lawsuit.

The parties may agree on compensation, that is, an amount of money, work to be done, property to be delivered...

The amicable agreement will have to be the subject of a written commitment, that is the purpose of the transaction. This document has legal value and can serve as a proof in a future trial.

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

Judicial conciliator

The judicial conciliator may invite the parties to come to the place where it carries out its mission. He may also go to the premises and hear any person useful to the conciliation, with the agreement of the conciliation.

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

The parties may ask the judge to validate the finding of agreement by seizing it by query written.

Who shall I contact

This can be a specialised mediator: civil mediator, family mediator, consumer ombudsman ,...

The Ombudsman has no powers of enquiry.

The mediator may receive the parties together or separately.

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

It shall set a time limit for accepting or rejecting its proposal.

Lawyer (Participatory Procedural Agreement)

The negotiation between lawyers shall take place only after the signing of an initial agreement between the parties, participatory procedure convention.

The agreement includes various reciprocal commitments and guarantees. It allows to set the conditions of the negotiation (deadlines, exchange of documents, subject of the dispute). The parties shall set a time limit in the agreement during which they may not refer the matter to the judge. This period may be reduced or deleted in the event of an emergency.

Who shall I contact

Please note

the limitation period shall be suspended in the case of conciliation, mediation or a participatory convention procedure. The elapsed time period stops and resumes for a remaining period which may not be less than 6 months, when the negotiation is completed.

Agreement Validation

Certain arrangements must be validated by the judge before they can be executed. The parties may enter it by query to have this agreement approved.

When signed by lawyers of the parties, agreements resulting from mediation, conciliation or participatory procedure may be executed without going before the judge. The court office must place the binding formula, i.e. a statement enabling the agreement to be enforced.

The cost depends on the intervention of the third party:

  • Conciliation is free.
  • Mediation may be free (mediation of consumer disputes) or paid (family or civil mediation) through payment fee.
  • Participatory procedure is paid, the lawyer is paid by the payment of fees. Depending on your resources, you can benefit from legal aid.

The friendly agreement is binding on the parties that signed it.

A trial may take place if one of the parties fails to comply with the signed agreement or if a dispute remains. The agreement will then have to be presented as proof of commitment.

The competent court is dependent on the sums involved in the dispute.

  • For litigation less than or equal to €10 000, it is the local court or the judicial court.
  • For litigation greater than €10 000, it's the court.
Who shall I contact