Alternative mechanisms of dispute resolution and ongoing reforms in the justice system of Georgia are the focus of a two-day international conference “Mediation Days 2018” that kicked off in Tbilisi on 21 November.
The event gathered more than 100 leading experts and practitioners of mediation from around the globe, including Denmark, Iceland, the UK and Austria. Georgian mediators, lawyers, judges, prosecutors and social workers, as well as representatives of the government, civil society and international organisations attended the conference.
“Georgia has made important steps forward in developing mediation and its legal framework. To keep pace, we need to share the best international knowledge and practice,” said Mzia Todua, Acting Chairperson of the Supreme Court of Georgia.
Louisa Vinton, Head of the United Nations system in Georgia, stressed that Alternative Dispute Resolution is a significant element of the justice system reform.
“Everyone must be protected before the law and enjoy access to different mechanisms to exercise this right. Mediation and arbitration are a way to widen access to justice by making it more easily available to the citizens,” Louisa Vinton said.
'EU and Georgia agreed to enhance the use of mediation. Through our projects, we support developing fair, high-quality and efficient mediation, as a real alternative for citizens to solve their disputes in an amicable, swift and win-win way,' said Peter Danis, Justice Programme Manager at the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia.
Mikheil Sarjvelidze, First Deputy Minister of Justice of Georgia; Giorgi Mikautadze, Secretary of the High Council of Justice of Georgia; and Susan Stern, First Political Secretary of the UK Embassy to Georgia, also addressed the participants of the conference.
Tbilisi Mediation Days 2018 formed a platform for debate on civic mediation as well as the cases deriving from the criminal law. Panel discussions focused on gender in mediation, specifics of collective lawsuits related to the labour code and the perspectives of bringing mediation into employment disputes in the public service.
The conference will conclude on 22 November with a workshop for Georgian mediators led by a British expert, the founder of the Mediation Academy, Aled Davies.
Tbilisi Mediation Days is the second international conference in Georgia to discuss the role of mediation in modern justice systems. This year the event is supported by the European Union (EU), UK Aid from the UK Government, and three agencies of the United Nations: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Labour Organisation (ILO) and UN Women.