Local Authorities Adopt Successful Court Mediation Program in Jordan

December 7, 2007

After the 2006 introduction of court mediation as an alternative to Jordan’s lengthy, costly litigation process, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) has been successful in beginning to transfer “ownership” to localauthorities. Jordan’s Ministry of Justice is creating formal positions to incorporate the court mediation program within the structure of the Ministry,and a judge was recently seconded by the Judicial Council to serve as theprogram’s first director.  Moreover, the Court Mediation Program Steering Committee has been taking a more active role in policy-related decisions.

The program began as a response to concerns about Jordan's overburdened court system.   Among the concerns, experts and local stakeholders cited decreased accessibility to justice and public dissatisfaction with the courts.  

ABA ROLI supported the development of court mediation from concept to reality and over saw expansion from one to six court mediation centers. Throughout the process, ABA ROLI has encouraged Jordanian ownership of this program.

As the program becomes more sustainable, ABA ROLI and the Ministry of Justice are encouraging more attorneys to participate in court mediation. In November 2007, the Ministry of Justice formally sponsored a basic mediation workshop for 12 lawyers, 15 judges and two representatives from the Ministry ofLabor. The participants praised expert trainer Sharon Press for heroutstanding knowledge and experience in mediation and her engaging presentation.

The Ministry’s role in the training sent a clear signal to stake holders thatc ourt mediation is a sustainable component of Jordan’s justice system—a real encouragement for increased participation by attorneys and other professionals.

For more information, please contact Kathy McEnany <kmcenany@staff.abanet.org>