In Cambodia, as in many countries across Asia, there is a long tradition of mediation. Disputes are traditionally resolved by negotiation and compromise, rather than through an adversarial legal process. Respected elders, Buddhist monks, and local authorities at the village and commune levels, have historically worked to resolve disputes outside the judicial system.
The traditional conflict management system used by Cambodian villagers to resolve daily disputes is a process known in Khmer as somrohsomruel and has ancient roots in Khmer society. Under this system, a preference for avoiding disclosure of problems led to an attempt to settle matters individually, or with the help of close relatives or neighbors, before calling on an independent third party to resolve a dispute through mediation.