Mediation bill gets approval

Mediation bill gets approval

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Parliament’s Justice Commission yesterday approved a controversial draft law paving the way for jurists with professional experience of at least five years to mediate in private law disputes for out-of-court solutions.

The arrangement, aimed at relieving Turkey’s congested judicial system, has come under fire on the grounds that it could endanger the rights of women and open the door for religious communities and the mafia to interfere in legal matters. Nevertheless, the draft was approved at the Commission with the votes of members from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Under the bill, mediators would be selected by the two parties and make efforts to solve the dispute as quickly as possible. Once the two parties reach an agreement, the mediator would draft a document detailing the conditions agreed on during the meetings, which would then be signed by the two parties and the mediator.

Once mediators are called in, any related lawsuit would be put on hold for three months, pending whether or not the parties can reach a mutual agreement outside of the courtroom.

Lawyers with at least five years of experience would be eligible to apply to the Justice Ministry to become mediators. The Ministry will test the candidates, and train those who pass the exams before licensing them as mediators. Mediators who violate privacy rules could face up to six months in prison.