The practice of the gamsabha ended during the Portuguese and Dutch colonization. When the British took over in the late 19th century, they tried to reactivate the village councils through the Village Committee Ordinance in 1871 and the Rural Courts Ordinance in 1945. Their attempt failed to incorporate the gamsabha into the British Court system.
Then, in 1958, Conciliation Boards replaced rural courts. These boards were an alternative dispute resolution mechanism. However, these boards also failed and the law was repealed in 1978.
Finally, in 1988, the Ministry of Justice was empowered by Act 72 of 1988 to create the Mediation Boards for the voluntary settlement of minor disputes. Their purpose was to improve the quality of justice, reduce delays, stress and expense, increase accessibility, and improve awareness and confidence in the process. The first Mediation Board was established in 1990.
In Sri Lanka, the Mediation Boards have resolved more than 1 million disputes in the last twenty years with 7,000 volunteer mediators in over 300 places.