Law
Mediation in Georgia
08 March, 2012
Mediation in Georgia

Judge Lasha Kalandadze is today answering our questions on the details of Mediation as it is being executed in Georgia:

 

NBR – last time we discussed mediation in general. What are the specifics of mediation in Georgia? Are we doing it in any special way?

L.K. – Probably not! According to the amendments of Civil Procedure Code, put into force on January 1, 2012, mediation as an alternative dispute resolution process has been introduced in Georgia. Our legislation envisages the  creation of

mandatory mediation, meaning that certain kind of cases, such as family, marital, divorce and issues concerning disagreements and misunderstandings between neighbors may be submitted to mediation by the decision of a trial court. It should also be mentioned that our law encourages the usage of voluntary mediation before initiating litigation or at any stage of consideration of cases by the agreement between disputing parties. In my personal view, introduction of mandatory mediation is prerequisite of successful and fruitful development and progress of voluntary mediation. In conclusion, if these two forms of mediation (mandatory and voluntary mediation) are activated and operated together, the gist of mediation – ensuring society’s active participation and involvement in resolving their disagreements and misunderstandings – will be effectively put forward and implemented.

NBR – Could you please comment briefly on the details of economic aspects of mediation in Georgia?

L.K. – Yes, I certainly can. In compliance with our civil procedural code, claim cost (court fee) amounts to 3% of the pecuniary value of the subject of dispute whereas the claim cost of cases that are subject of mediation is only 1%. And, if disputants reach an amicable settlement, 70% from the paid 1% will be reimbursed to them. I think, this kind of economic handling will promote and facilitate operation of mediation.

NBR – How about mediation process in Georgia?

L.K. – According to our functioning law, the term of the process of mediation is 45 days but it must include minimum 2 meeting between the parties to the dispute. Procedural legislation also envisages a possibility of prolongation of this period merely by the agreement of disputing parties. I simply wanted to add that it is legally determined that certain sanctions will be imposed for ignoring mediation. For example, in case of nonparticipation or abstaining in mediation process the relevant party should be fined GEL 150 and the court fees too notwithstanding winning or losing the litigation (court case). I also want to underline that mediation is confidential, not public. It is prohibited to disclose any kind of information as well as the use of the information as an argument in litigation. Interrogation of a mediator as a witness while considering a case in litigation is declared illegal by law. Surely, such aspects will enhance and strengthen trust and expectation towards mediation and mediator.

NBR – In what ways is the enforcement of amicable settlement implemented?

L.K. – It is a well accepted truth that amicable settlement, reached in mediation has a high rate of compliance, but if one or more parties fail, our legislation envisages mechanisms to enforce that settlement. For instance, amicable settlement made before mediator is subject to recognition and enforcement by a trial judge. This presents another guarantee of safeguarding an agreeable resolution of disputes.

NBR – When and how can the citizens of Georgia make practical use of this interesting and, I would say, very important legal mechanism?

L.K. – As I mentioned, the introduction of mediation is dictated by civil procedural code. But I think, it is reasonable to give an effect to it step by step. We must take into account every nuance and detail of mediation in order to bring it before society with its merits and qualities. We have a good and productive relationship with various organizations, including international organizations such as GIZ and East-West Management to facilitate and initiate functioning of mediation in Georgia, initially as a pilot project in Tbilisi City Court. Surely, mediation will enhance the respect and responsibility of our citizens towards the rights of their fellow citizens as well as their own rights and freedoms, ensure active participation in solving their problems and disputes.  So, let welcome this positive novelty in our society!

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