Alternative dispute resolution lies at the heart of Peru’s legal system. It is derived from the traditional practices of ancient indigenous civilizations during the colonial period. In colonial times, a justice of the peace was (and still is) appointed to resolve disputes in small towns and rural areas, based on law, equity and mediation (conciliación). Justice of the peace officials are respected by their communities and are appointed by the judiciary to serve as volunteer judges, who use mediation to resolve local disputes.
The beneficial experience of conciliación and the positive influence of other mediation processes in the Americas, led to the creation of a mandatory mediation system in Peru in 1997 (Law 26872, Ley de conciliación extrajudicial).