EU Project “Pravo-Justice” and Dnipropetrovsk RJRC Held a Training on the Principles of Mediation in Dnipro
On November 23-24, the EU Project Pravo-Justice together with the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Justice Reform Council (RJRC) conducted a training on the fundamentals of mediation for judges and staff of the Dnipro District Administrative Court. The training focused on the basic principles of mediation, practical aspects, and guidelines to inform court users at the stage of legal action and trial.
“The adoption of the Law on Mediation on November 16, 2021 made it necessary to train on mediation various legal professionals, including judges. This shall include the acquisition by them of general knowledge about mediation that would be sufficient and necessary to offer and inform the parties to a conflict about mediation. Such training will help judges better understand the nature of the procedure, as well as its benefits and effectiveness,”said Oksana Tsymbrivska, Key National Expert of the EU Project Pravo-Justice, Component for Policy and Coordination in the Justice Sector.
The event was a continuation of a thorough analysis which was conducted in 2020 and was intended to detect legislative and institutional gaps in the introduction of mediation in Ukraine across various areas of law. In 2021, the Project conducted a research to identify categories of administrative cases where reconciliation of parties is potentially possible through mediation, as well as to identify mechanisms for referring such cases to mediation. To do this, individual interviews were conducted with interested stakeholders alongside group discussions with judges of administrative courts within the RJRC activities. Those efforts culminated with a report “Mediation in Administrative Cases”.
"The law on mediation will naturally give a new impetus to the development of alternative dispute resolution. Administrative disputes constitute the most controversial area for application of mediation, but at the same time, it is among the most strategic ones. As this is a real chance for public administrations to increase their authority and public trust through focusing on partnership, rather than control,” said Alina Serhieieva, internationally certified mediator, National Expert of the EU Project Pravo-Justice.
Holding the training in the premises of Dnipro District Administrative Court was not a happenstance. Following the presentation of the “Mediation in Administrative Cases” report in July 2021, the court suggested – as part of a pilot – to open an in-court mediation center and introduce a judicial mediation model to promote alternative dispute resolution in the field of administrative justice. Before starting the process, it is important that all judges and court employees share common understanding of what mediation is, what its principles are, and can effectively advise citizens on ADR opportunities.
“Until recently, the legal community was quite skeptical about the possibilities of alternative dispute resolution. With the adoption of the laws “On Mediation” and “On Administrative Procedure”, there is room for mediation even in administrative disputes. After all, the new laws establish a new principle of operation of a public authority – acting effectively. The training, held in the Dnipro District Administrative Court by the EU Project Pravo-Justice, has been the first stage of launching a pilot project on mediation in administrative disputes and has provided some basic knowledge about the principles and fundamentals of mediation,” said Andriy Ryshchenko, Judge at Dnipro District Administrative Court, Dnipropetrovsk RJRC Coordinator.
Regional Justice Reform Councils (RJRCs) have been established with support of the EU Project Pravo-Justice and function in Chernivtsi, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Lviv, Odesa regions and Donbas. To date, Councils members have been actively participating in drafting a bill on mediation, amendments to the Bankruptcy Code, proposals to improve legislation on enforcement proceedings, introducing e-court and discussing the concept of transitional justice.
RJRCs act as permanent working groups to promote bottom-up reforms: bringing region-specific challenges and potential solutions thereof to the level of central government.