Conflict Resolution|Europe|International|Mediation|United States

International Projects and Initiatives: Part I

A panel of eight speakers at the Madrid IBA Conference spoke on “Projects, Practices and Policies: Developments from the World of Mediation.”  This is the first of a two-part report on the presentations offered.

The first speaker, Mercedes Tarrazón of Barcelona, reported that mediation in Spain had its roots in domestic and family law, and unfortunately has remained there.  Spain’s Civil Mediation Act focuses on family applications, and a survey is currently underway to measure the use of mediation in schools, community conflicts, labor, government, regulatory and commercial settings.  Ms. Tarrazón is working with the Spanish legislature to produce legislation in conformance with the 2008 EU Directive on ADR, but she reports that because of the paucity of its use mediation is not well understood by the legislators.

Barney Jordaan spoke about the Africa Center for Dispute Settlement, located within the Business School at Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa.  The Center’s Patron is Archbishop Desmond Tutu.  Jordaan noted that the legacy of conflict in South African culture remains, and he estimates that 80% of the South African population lacks efficient access to justice through the courts.  The location of the Center within a business school rather than a law school was purposeful: Economic actors will drive the future of South Africa, he stated, and it is the clients who will drive the lawyers, not vice versa.  Thus, negotiation training is a requirement for MBA candidates at Stellenbosch University.  The Center is also active in establishing community-based dispute resolution centers.  The Center is receiving training assistance from the British-based ADR Group.  More information on this effort may be obtained by clicking here.

Next was James McPherson, who is head of the Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution.  Mr. McPerson explained that Bahrain’s government and Royal Family are enthusiastic supporters of judicial and legal reform, and that ADR trainings and conferences had been held over the past few years with AAA, LCIA, the American Bar Association, the ICC and others.  The Center is underwritten by the government, and has invited the International Center for Dispute Resolution to assist it in a broad swatch of expertise, including accounting, bookkeeping, arbitration and mediation rules, case handling systems, and so on.  The aim is to build a sturdy and sustainable institution.  The effort is regional, with strong participation from Saudi Arabia and other regional countries.  Mark Appel of the ICDR characterized the Center as AAA’s presence in the region.

James South of CEDR reported on various projects undertaken with the IFC/World Bank Group to encourage the growth of mediation in various developing markets.  He spoke particularly of centers set up in Pakistan and, in 2004, in the Balkans.  The latter has developed into a training center in its own right and has been responsible for more than 1,500 mediations.  The IFC has now created an ADR Global Team and CEDR, along with CMI International, has been engaged to assist that Team with a analysis of lessons learned during these experiences, and to identify indicia of success in considering investment in ADR in other developing markets.

More on this interesting and far-reaching panel in Part II.

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