MEDIATION: THE EXPERIENCE OF LATVIA

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Mediation Experience of Latvia

Nostalgia for offline.

The first half of 2020 was a year of challenges for everyone. After all, the pandemic of coronavirus disease COVID-19 has made its adjustments to the normal rhythm of life. We are now partly at the stage of returning to pre-quarantine life (in any case, I would like to believe this). Partly because we still continue to work remotely. Although there is enough communication online, there is a nostalgia for the magic of live human communication. Therefore, there is only the opportunity to remember offline meetings with colleagues, students, travel. Before the quarantine, the working group of Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University on the implementation of the Project “Mediation: Training and Society Transformation”/MEDIATS, a partner of which is the University, took part in internship trips: in Riga (Latvia), which took place in December 2019 and internship in Murcia (Spain), which took place in January 2020.

One of the tasks of the MEDIATS Project is to study the experience of the European Union in the field of mediation and its implementation in Ukraine. Therefore, during an internship at TURIBA University, one of the trainers – certified Latvian mediator Dana Rone made a presentation on mediation in Latvia, dividing it into several stages: the period before the adoption of the law on mediation, the adoption of the law on mediation, the period after the adoption of the law on mediation. Latvia’s experience in the field of mediation is interesting because mediation is gaining more popularity and recognition in Latvia, so these lessons can be applied in Ukraine. So, more about mediation in Latvia.

Law on Mediation.

The adoption of the Law on Mediation in Latvia was preceded by a lot of work: the work of mediation experts, practitioners, lecturers invited from abroad. Circles of mediators, people interested in mediation were created. A significant contribution to the development of mediation was made by NGO that communicated with state institutions, voluntarily organized meetings with judges for the purpose of training, informing judges about mediation.

The Law on Mediation in Latvia was adopted on May 22, 2014. This law took a step in the development of mediation in Latvia, made the mediation procedure official. The law consolidated the basic principles of the mediation procedure: voluntariness. confidentiality, equality and cooperation of the parties, neutrality and objectivity of the mediator. In addition, the law stipulates that the mediation procedure begins with the conclusion of a written agreement with the mediator, which states the essence of the dispute, the rights and obligations of the mediator and the parties, and so on. However, a clause on mediation can be included in any written agreement. Upon completion of the mediation procedure, the mediator may issue a confirmation of the completion of the mediation. which has legal force, or without such a document.

Court-Annexed Mediation.

Court-annexed mediation is mediation conducted by a mediator, if during court proceedings while adjudication of a matter on the merits has not been completed, the parties have expressed a willingness to settle the dispute using mediation upon recommendation of a court or a judge (article 17 of the Law on Mediation). The parties shall select a mediator from the list of certified mediators. Such mediation exists in resolving civil cases in accordance with Civil Procedure Law.

In the case of reaching an agreement on the results of mediation recommended by the court, the parties may enter into amicable agreement that conforms to the norms of the Civil Procedure Law, to submit it to the court and to request the court to approve it; refuse from the claim; recognize the claim fully or partly. If an agreement is not reached as a result of court-annexed mediation, the mediator shall prepare a certification on the outcome of mediation and shall issue it to the parties (article 18 of the Law on Mediation).

Certified Mediator.

After the adoption of the Law on Mediation, the Cabinet of Ministers of Latvia developed the Regulations for Certification and Attestation Order for Mediators. The order establishes the procedure for submitting an application for participation in the mediator certification exam, the content of the exam, the fee and the sample of the certified mediator certificate.

The first exam was held in September 2014, was of great interest, but there was a percentage of those who did not pass.

Certification and Attestation Commission of Mediators includes a representative of the Ministry of Justice, two judges of various instances, a representative of the teaching staff of higher education institutions, two representatives of the Council of Certified Mediators.

What are the requirements for a certified mediator? This is a person who: has reached 25 years of age, has an impeccable reputation, has higher education, is fluent in the official language at the highest level, has passed a training course for mediators, has received a certificate of a mediator.

Attestation of a certified mediator is carried out at least once every five years.

List of certified mediators.

There is the list of certified mediators in Latvia. A certified mediator is a mediator who, in accordance with regulations, has passed a mediation course and received a certificate that entitles to be included in the list of certified mediators. The list of certified mediators in Latvia contains information on the data of the mediator. contact information, information about the certificate, experience, field of activity, region of work, and language of work of the mediator. Currently, this list includes about 50 certified mediators.

Interesting points about mediation in Latvia now.

☑️ Judges in Latvia are trained in mediation in the Training Center of Judges.
☑️ Judges are trained to offer the parties the opportunity to resolve the dispute through mediation.
☑️ At the expense of the State Budget in Latvia, there are possibly five free mediation sessions in family matters with the participation of a certified mediator. However, if the parties fail to reach an agreement within five sessions, they must pay for the work of the mediator themselves.
☑️ In Latvia mediators annually organized Days of Mediators.

Thus, the study of the experience of EU countries, in particular, Latvia in the framework of the project “Mediation: Training and Society Transformation”/MEDIATS helps in the development and dissemination of mediation in Ukraine. In particular, the Faculty of Law of the Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University has developed the Master degree educational and professional program in Mediation, which is implemented under the grant Project “Mediation: Training and Society Transformation”/MEDIATS, which aims to expand the range of professional mediators and to promote the development of mediation in Ukraine.

Maryna Fedorchuk

assistant professor of the Department of public law
Member of the MEDIATS Project team
“Mediation: Training and Society
Transformation /MEDIATS” of the EU Program
ERASMUS + KA2: CBHE

“The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.”