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New mediation law to allow for settling cases out of court

By Khetam Malkawi - Feb 10,2016 - Last updated at Feb 10,2016

AMMAN — Jordan is in the process of adopting a new mediation law and establishing an independent mediation centre where the parties to a lawsuit can meet with a neutral third party in an effort to settle the case outside court, according to Justice Minister Bassam Talhouni.

Talhouni said the draft mediation law was referred to Parliament after being approved by the Cabinet recently and will apply to commercial cases, whether between individuals or between institutions.

“Not all cases are required to be handled in court, and this is how the idea came,” he told The Jordan Times over the phone in a recent interview, adding that the third-party mediators at the centre will be either former judges or lawyers with experience in conflict resolution.

The minister explained that an agreement reached between the two parties in such cases would be written up as an applicable “verdict”.

If one of the parties is not satisfied with the result of mediation, they can proceed to court, he added.

The planned mediation centre, according to the minister, will have branches across the Kingdom. It will be supported by the Jordan Businessmen Association, the Association of Banks in Jordan and the Private Hospitals Association, which will submit the names of proposed mediators to the government for approval.

As part of the country’s preparations to found this centre, the Kingdom will benefit from a training programme supported by UNDP in mid-February, followed by an information session and discussion presented by experts from the Singapore mediation centre and the Singapore ministry of law, drawing on Singapore’s distinguished experience in mediation, according to Talhouni.

The UNDP training programme on mediation and alternative dispute resolutions (ADRs) will target 30 selected practitioners from different sectors, including judges, lawyers, bankers, members of the chambers of commerce and industry, insurance professionals, and civil society representatives, according to the UN agency.

“The discussion will focus on success and best practices in the area of mediation and alternative dispute resolutions in Singapore. This is in an effort to learn from comparative experiences while Jordan is under way developing new mediation legislation and an independent mediation centre in the Kingdom,” said a UNDP statement sent to The Jordan Times.

UNDP Jordan said it is supporting the Ministry of Justice and the court system in Jordan by increasing access to justice through legal advice and boosting courts’ ability of processing cases quickly, which will improve the delivery of courts’ services and contribute to positive perceptions of their effectiveness. 

 

The project implemented by the UNDP is also working with the ministry to enhance existing mechanisms for mediation and ADRs, with the aim of reducing the case load on the court system and expediting the justice process for cases that require speedy adjudication.

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"If one of the parties is not satisfied with the result of mediation, they can proceed to court". Since a typical court case currently takes about three years to receive a final verdict; with mediation it will add another year to the process. As we all know, nobody likes to be on the losing end of a court case and inevitably everyone will exercise their right to have the mediation retried in court.

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