The fundamental legal regulation governing voluntary mediation is the Law on Mediation.
It states the basic principles that make up mediation, such as the principle of voluntariness, informality, confidentiality and others. Mediation, in the sense of the Conciliation Act, is any procedure, regardless of whether it is carried out in a court, a conciliation institution or outside of them, in which the parties seek to resolve the dispute amicably with the help of one or more conciliators who help the parties reach a settlement, without the authority to impose a binding solution on them.
Another law in which mediation appears is the Civil Procedure Act, which stipulates that a judge can propose mediation to the parties during the entire civil procedure or refer them to it. If the judge directs them to mediation, the parties must attend the first information meeting of the mediation. If they do not do so, they lose the right to demand further costs of the procedure incurred before the court of first instance. Finally, mediation also appears in the Family Law within the framework of mandatory counseling and family mediation.
The difference is that family mediation is not mandatory in its entirety like mandatory counseling, but only its first meeting is mandatory and must be attended if the mandatory counseling has not ended with a settlement. Mandatory counseling is a form of helping family members to make consensual decisions about family relationships, taking special care to protect family relationships in which the child participates (e.g. to conclude a plan on joint parental care - an agreement on the legal consequences of divorce) and on the legal consequences of not reaching an agreement and initiation of court proceedings in which the personal rights of the child are decided. Family mediation is a social service of expert assistance to family members, which is provided for the purpose of reaching an agreement regarding an unresolved dispute from family relations, when reaching such an agreement is expected within a time-limited period of no longer than three months. Family mediation is conducted by a family mediator who is an impartial and specially trained person registered in the register of family mediators. The main purpose of the family mediation process is to reach a joint parenting plan and other agreements regarding the child. In addition to achieving this purpose, in the family mediation process, the parties can come to an agreement on other disputed issues of a property and non-property nature.
https://www.zakon.hr/z/134/Zakon-o-parni%C4%8Dnom-postupku (use this link because the revised text has not yet been published on the official website, as new changes came into effect in 2022.)
The court may, taking into account all the circumstances, especially the interest of the parties and third parties related to the parties and the durability of their relationships and familiarity with each other, at the hearing or outside the hearing, instruct the parties to initiate a mediation procedure within eight days, or propose to the parties a resolution of the dispute in the procedure. Decisions can be made by the court during the entire civil proceedings. If the parties agree to propose or accept the settlement of the dispute in the conciliation process before the court, a meeting will be scheduled without delay to attempt conciliation, to which the parties, their representatives and proxies, if they have them, are invited. The mediation procedure before the court is led by a conciliator appointed from the list of conciliators established by the president of the court. The mediator cannot participate in the conciliation procedure in the civil case assigned to him. If the mediation process is completed without a settlement, the mediator may not participate in the dispute in any capacity. A settlement concluded in a mediation procedure conducted in court before a conciliator judge is considered a court settlement. In cooperation with the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Croatia in 2006. The pilot project - "Conciliation in the Courts" has started, which for the first time in the Republic of Croatia provides litigants in Croatian courts, in civil proceedings, with a completely new service for resolving their disputes in a more convenient, faster and cheaper way for them. In the period from 2008 until 2010. this way of resolving disputes should be extended to all courts in the Republic of Croatia.
The settlement concluded in the mediation procedure is binding on the parties that concluded it. If the parties have undertaken certain obligations through the settlement, they are obliged to fulfill them in a timely manner. A settlement concluded in the mediation procedure is an enforceable document if it establishes a specific obligation to act on which the parties can agree and if it contains a declaration by the obligee about immediate permission for enforcement (enforceability clause). With the enforceability clause, the obligor expressly agrees that on the basis of a settlement, in order to fulfill the obligation, after the due date of the obligation, forced enforcement may be immediately carried out. The enforceability clause can also be contained in a separate document. The enforcement of the settlement shall be refused: - if the conclusion of a settlement is not allowed, - if the settlement is contrary to public order, - if the content of the settlement is unenforceable or impossible. The parties may also agree that the settlement be drawn up in the form of a notarial deed, a court settlement or an arbitration award based on the settlement. A settlement concluded in a mediation procedure conducted before a court mediator is considered a court settlement.