The European Policy Institute (EPI) – Skopje, in cooperation with the Academy of Judges and Public Prosecutors “Pavel Shatev”, the Chamber of Mediators of the Republic of North Macedonia and the Mediators Federation Netherlands, organized on Wednesday the annual conference “Mediation – for a new culture in dispute resolution.”
Participants agreed that while in the Western countries mediation is an effective way to settle disputes by reaching mutually acceptable solution for both parties, in North Macedonia it is still necessary to work the affirmation and promotion of mediation.
North Macedonia’s Justice Minister Bojan Marichikj pointed out that in democracies, mediation is a well-known method of settling disputes, and the country’s goal is to be a regional leader in disputes resolved through mediation.
According to him, mediation must be developed and promoted in the country, in order to be a successful and functional model as in European countries.
“The total number of mediations between 2007 and 2016 couldn’t even reach a hundred. However, a significant difference can be noticed as of 2017. In 2020, mediators have registered 1,943 cases in the mediation records of the Ministry of Justice. Of these, 65 percent, i.e. 1,275 have ended in agreement. Our goal is to further increase this percentage, and North Macedonia to be a regional leader in mediated disputes,” Marichikj said.
The European Commission’s report notes the need to raise awareness about the use of mediation and work on its promotion, and this is why a new legal solution has been drafted which will be in a parliamentary procedure.
“One of the goals of the draft law on mediation is approximating to the practices of EU member states, where in every situation of conflict resolution and dispute, the emphasis is on alternative resolution. The law also brings in changes in the way of taking the exam for mediators before a commission, which will contribute to creating quality, professional and trained staff,” said Marichikj.
EPI’s head Simonida Kacarska pointed out that the institute’s research on the use of mediation in the country shows that there’s understanding among key stakeholders about the benefits of mediation, but also, some 40 percent of the business community is not familiar with it.
“Results are preliminary, but there’s readiness on the part of many stakeholders, as well as judges, lawyers, and greater awareness in public administration, which we note in terms of the potential offered by mediation. The survey gives us hope that we’re on the right track. However, we see that around 40 percent of the respondents in public administration and the business sector are not familiar with mediation. We still have a lot of room to raise awareness,” Kacarska said.
Dutch Ambassador to North Macedonia Dirk Jan Kop noted that mediation is an effective way to resolve and settle disputes by reaching mutually acceptable solution for both parties, seen as a win-win situation, both fast and economical.
“Mediation is widely used in family, business and work relations. In the Netherlands, since 2012, mediation has also been applied to juvenile delinquency. I believe the Dutch experience will be transferred to your country,” said Jan Kop.
President of the Chamber of Mediators of the Republic of North Macedonia, Slave Mladenovski, pointed out that mediators in the country have shown that mediation is effective and its use is growing.
In addition, President of the Mediators Federation Netherlands, Jan van Zweiten, said among other that only in the past three months he has worked at seven international conferences but there was no place with as much enthusiasm as North Macedonia.
Mediation in North Macedonia was introduced in 2006, whereas the current law on mediation was adopted in 2013 and came into effect in February 2016. Reforms related to mediation as an alternative way of dispute resolution are among the strategic goals of the 2017-2022 Judicial Sector Reform Strategy, and a new legal framework is already at the final stage.
The conference is held as part of the project “Mediate, do not hesitate” funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Skopje.