New Report on Assessment of Alternative Dispute Resolution/Mediation in BiH

The Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HJPC BiH) hosted on 28 September 2015 in Sarajevo the presentation of a Report on Assessment of Alternative Dispute Resolution/Mediation in BiH.

The Report has been prepared by an international expert, Mr Aleš Zalar, former Minister of Justice of the Republic of Slovenia. It provides an assessment of the legal provisions and the practices of alternative dispute resolution, and proposes concrete recommendations in order to improve access to justice for BiH citizens. The Report was prepared with the support of an EU funded project “Assessment of Alternative Dispute Resolution/Mediation in Bosnia and Herzegovina”. This project builds on extensive financial support already provided by the EU to increase the efficiency of the judiciary in BiH, in line with the recently adopted Reform Agenda.

Ms Chloe Berger, Head of Operations Section for Justice and Home Affairs and Public Administration Reform at the EU Delegation to BiH, said: “Alternative Dispute Resolution can prove a valuable tool to improve access to justice for citizens. The need to improve the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution has been identified in the recently adopted Justice Sector Reform Strategy of BiH, and the EU stands ready to further support these efforts.

The author of the Report, Mr Aleš Zalar said: “Courts should offer mediation to every litigant immediately after a plaintiff files a lawsuit. At least first two hours of mediation at courts should be free of charge for litigants. In such a way everyone would have free access to justice with human face. Bosnia and Herzegovina has a potential and capacity to make mediation and other alternatives to litigation a viable option for individuals and businesses.”

Several recommendations of the Report are directed to the ministries of justice, the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of BiH, the courts in BiH and the bar associations. A collaborative and cooperative approach of key players will be needed to improve access, availability and awareness of user-friendly dispute resolution proceedings.

Presentation of the Report was attended by key stakeholders which represented courts, ministries, the bar associations, the Association of Mediators, the chambers of commerce and NGO’s representatives.

Link to the report: http://europa.ba/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Final-report-on-ADR-in-BiH.pdf