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Mediation can reduce load in judiciary

Published : 12 Aug 2021 09:56 PM

The judiciary of Bangladesh is burdened with about 38 lakh pending cases, which is a major challenge for judges, law practitioners and the government. However, the number of pending cases in the country is increasing day by day.

Experts and mediators said that the promotion of mediation method will be a best solution to reduce the litigation. 

Mediation is the process of resolving civil and commercial disputes through a third party, who is not involved with the dispute of the work, through helping the parties reach a conclusive and mutually satisfactory agreement.

The experts stressed the advantages of mediation method over arbitration and litigation as a dispute resolution tool, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic situation that created an unprecedented challenge in the economic life.

Some experts and mediators have called upon the Supreme Court administration to publicize and publish in the media the decision to make the arbitration method mandatory in various cases and to motivate the people seeking justice through this method.

In a statement, they said that a total of over 38 lakh cases are now pending with higher court and lower courts across the country. Many cases are filed even on triple pretext. In this situation, the Supreme Court had issued guidelines for compliance with the internationally recognized mediation method for low-cost dispute resolution.

“We believe that the directive of the Supreme Court is a landmark step in the judiciary. Declaring mediation mandatory for judges has provided a great opportunity for litigation to reduce the pressure of litigation in the courts by preventing the people seeking justice from wasting time, labour and money. The decision should be implemented,” they said. 

Chairman of Bangladesh International Mediation Society (BIMS) Advocate SN Goswami, Accredited Mediator Advocate Panchaj Kumar Kundu, Regional Director of BIMS Advocate Khandaker Rafiq Hasnain and some other mediators made the statement. 

They said that unless a party is adamant on its stance, it is possible to resolve any business dispute through the mediation method. So, the promotion of mediation system is needed for the interest of the judiciary. 

Advocate SN Goswami said that mediation method is now becoming a part the judiciary in India. The method is also becoming popular in some other countries. The business disputes that remained unresolved for several years will be pending for several other years due to Covid-19 situation. The mediation method should be applied to resolve the business dispute, he opined.  

The arbitration process is being handled by the ‘Arbitration Act, 2001’.  However, there are some loopholes in the existing law. The experts called for amending the law in order to reduce the cost and time in disposal of cases, and to make the law user-friendly to help boost inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Bangladesh.

Against this backdrop, the Law Commission prepared a draft of the Arbitration (Amendment) Act in 2018 with 53 amendments in order to ensure transparency and impartiality in the arbitration proceedings. The draft has not been amended till now. 

Talking to the Bangladesh Post, Director of the Bangladesh International Arbitration Centre (BIAC) Akmal Azad said that arbitration is becoming a suitable and dynamic method of dispute resolution between the foreign investors and the buyers in Bangladesh. 

Against this backdrop, amendment to the ‘Arbitration Act, 2001’ is needed for effectiveness of the mediation method. If the Law Commission’s draft is finalised and fresh law is enacted, it will settle the commercial disputes more dynamically through arbitration activities outside the court, he added.