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Mediation Law To Allow Dispute Settlement Outside Of Court

Special mediators would assist both parties to find common ground and get past old disagreements.

Rossisskaya Gazeta has published a law which will assist citizens in resolving serious disputes outside of the courtroom and to keep them from holding grudges against one another. A completely new concept has been legally codified in Russia – the process of mediation and the concept of mediation specialists.

According to experts, mediation will change the very roots of the administration of justice and perhaps even improve the country’s moral climate. Special mediators will help both parties in a conflict to find common ground and forget about old disagreements.

In addition, experts are hoping that the new law on mediation will lessen the burden on courts and allow them to focus on more complex matters, for example, trials where the conflict between the disputing parties is so severe that mediation is not possible. Every lawyer knows that when the truth comes out in legal disputes, the verdict will inevitably be unfavorable to one of the two parties involved. The other side of the legal coin is that people meeting one another in court, if they don’t become outright enemies, are not going to offer to shake hands with one another and let bygones be bygones. It is especially difficult to argue the case if the two sides were once spouses: the two sides in any given divorce proceeding are not going to surrender to one another just because of family relations. The worst scenario is when children have to be separated; the child ends up paying for the adults’ mistakes.

However, former spouses will have a way out: they can turn to a mediator. It is possible that an outsider to the situation, who has the appropriate education, might be able to help the former family get on good terms again.

They say that time heals all wounds, but sometimes a kind and professional word helps them heal faster. Labor disputes are another variation – sometimes an employer is so out of bounds that the employee is forced to take the matter to court. However, people are usually afraid to take their boss to court because even if the court rules in their favor, it can be a Pyrrhic victory. It would be as if you had your rights restored today, only to be fired from your job tomorrow - for insubordination.
A more appropriate method needs to be found.

However, experts reckon that mediators will be able to resolve problems between employees and their employers rather painlessly, so that each side saves face and does not hold grievances against one another.

A prominent law office told Rossisskaya Gazeta that lawyers still fall back on the mediation process: “In practice, we often have to use the mediation process, but we apply the processes without all of the showiness of trial proceedings,” said lawyer Georgi Ter-Akopov. Usually, the lawyer represents one side and presents that side’s interests in the dispute. But the mediation process itself directly implies that the mediator should be completely neutral and disinterested in the conflict at hand.  According to Ter-Akopov, this type of legal activity is similar to an out-of-court settlement.

The law stipulates that it is not mandatory for mediators to have any sort of degree in mediation. Anyone over the age of 18 who is competent and does not have a criminal record may serve as an amateur mediator.

A professional mediator may be anyone over the age of 25 who has a higher education. Before someone can be called a professional mediator, they must take a training course for mediators, the standards of which are established by the Russian government. Incidentally, in the Ural Region, there is already an experiment being carried out on mediation which the Lawyer’s Association of Russia is supporting. The results are encouraging, which is why mediators have already been undergoing training in Ekaterinburg at the Ural Judicial Academy’s Conciliation Center since last year. It is possible that mediators will ultimately create their own organizations resembling those for lawyers and notaries.

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