Judicial System Reform; Legal Products; Post Conflict Reconstruction; Legal Institutions of the Market Economy
Europe and Central Asia
Summary: A few years ago, if a small or medium business enterprise in Western Balkans became entangled in a dispute with another company, the only option was to endure an extremely lengthy and expensive court procedure. The number of commercial disputes awaiting court attention in the region was in the millions. The long wait and high cost of litigation blocked access to funds and thus sealed the fate of many such enterprises. It also deterred potential foreign and domestic investors. The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program was started in 2003 with the goal of providing companies in the region with a much quicker and cheaper option for resolving commercial disputes: mediation. This report describes the means International Finance Corporation (IFC) used to introduce and implement this ADR approach in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. The report opens by describing the region's dispute resolution landscape before ADR. Companies seeking court resolution at the time waited on average 501 days and that was after navigating some 30-40 bureaucratic procedures and incurring onerous legal fees. IFC then trained a cadre of world-class mediators, which formed the core of the local organizations of mediators, and established a regional network of mediation centers, all the while facilitating a comprehensive public awareness campaign. The impact of the ADR program in the region has been broad and deep, and the legacy of this work will become more evident in years to come. The program's tangible results speak for themselves: more than 3,000 disputes have been mediated successfully since the program's onset. The average number of days to settle a case through mediation is 28. To date, mediation has freed more than $100.1 million in disputed funds.
Official, scanned versions of documents (may include signatures, etc.)