In January 2007, the Rule of Law Initiative's Jordan office conducted an initial evaluation of Jordan's first judicial mediation project, which was launched on June 1, 2006. Mediation was introduced to help reduce the overwhelming caseload in Amman's First Instance Court, with plans to expand the court project to other regions in Jordan. Since the launch, over 200 cases have been referred to court mediation with a 75% settlement rate. Exit surveys showed an overwhelmingly positive response by participants, indicating a strong preference for mediation over litigation. Judges and lawyers have expressed strong interest in learning more about alternative dispute resolution (ADR), and there has been continued media interest in the court project.
The Rule of Law Initiative's ongoing support of Jordan's first judicial mediation project includes various training sessions, a study trip to the U.S., materials and information sessions for professional groups, ADR curriculum for judges, and public service announcements. In January 2007, the Jordan office conducted a workshop on basic mediation skills for 15 judges and 17 lawyers and law professors. Bringing together judges and lawyers for the workshop was a significant event, as they traditionally preferred to be trained seperately. The participants began the workshop on opposite sides of the room, but were brought together through role play. When the workshop concluded, both sides praised the opportunity to interact with their peers. The event was led by regional ADR trainer Ossama Saffa and ADR Legal Specialist Judy Shoppe.
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