Friday, August 15, 2014

4th Mediation Workshop at College of Legal Studies, UPES


College of Legal Studies, UPES is one of the few pioneer law schools in the world including Harvard Law School which provides special training to the students to inculcate and improve the mediation skills. The University organizes this program twice in a year since 2011.

The 4th Mediation Workshop at College of Legal Studies, UPES is going to begin from 16th August, 2014 by very eminent personalities in India and the world who has made their mark in mediation and have resolved various complex disputes by mediation globally.

This year the mediation team has following personalities

Mr. Niranjan Bhatt, Sr. Counsel, Ahmedabad High Court
Mr. J.P. Sengh, Sr. Advocate, HC, Delhi.
Ms. Sadhana Ramachandran, Advocate, Supreme Court of India
Ms. Veena Ralli, HC of Delhi

The team also includes two American Students Sophie and Carina who came to attend the program on a student exchange program.

Mr. Niranjan Bhatt happens to be the President of the Association of Indian Mediators while Mrs. Sadhana Ramachandran the Secretary of the association needs no introduction being the pioneers in India who promoted the very concept of Mediation and have trained several lawyers and law professionals in the last 15 years.

The Mediation is an informal and confidential way for people to resolve disputes with the help of a neutral mediator who is trained to help people discuss their differences. The mediator does not decide who is right or wrong or issue a decision. Instead, the mediator helps the parties work out their own solutions to problems. A mediation session usually lasts from 3 to 4 hours, although the time can vary depending on how complicated the case is. There is no charge to either party to attend the mediation. Mediation is a negotiation process in which a neutral third party assists the disputing parties in resolving their disputes.

A Mediator uses special negotiation and communication techniques to help the parties to come to a settlement. The parties can appoint a Mediator with their mutual consent or a mediator can be appointed by the Court in a pending litigation.  The decision to mediate is completely voluntary. If the parties do not reach an agreement at the mediation, the charge will be investigated like any other charge. A written signed agreement reached during mediation is enforceable in court just like any other contract. Mediation always leaves the decision making power with the parties. A Mediator does not decide what is fair or right, does not apportion blame, nor renders any opinion on the merits or chances of success if the case is litigated. Rather, a mediator acts as a catalyst to bring the two disputing parties together by defining issues and limiting obstacles to communication and settlement. One of the greatest benefits of mediation is that it allows people to resolve the charge in a friendly way and in ways that meet their own unique needs. Also, a charge can be resolved faster through mediation. While it takes less than 3 months on average to resolve a charge through mediation, it can take 6 months or longer for a charge to be investigated.

Mediation is fair, efficient and can help the parties avoid a lengthy investigation and litigation. Mediation is an effective way of resolving disputes without the need to go to court. It involves an independent third party - a mediator - who helps both sides come to an agreement. Mediation is a flexible process that can be used to settle disputes in a whole range of situations such as: consumer disputes; contract disputes; family disputes; neighborhood disputes to name a few

Mediation is a voluntary process and will only take place if both parties agree. It is a confidential process where the terms of discussion are not disclosed to any party outside the mediation hearing. The mediation programs in addition to helping the students to work through complex personal disputes, the mediators are also developing skills of the students that will benefit them throughout their legal careers. Active listening, assumption-checking, empathy and interest-probing are skills that are important not only to mediation, but also to virtually any practice of law.  If parties are unable to reach agreement, they can still go to court. Details about what went on at the mediation will not be disclosed or used at a court hearing. Both parties share the cost of mediation, which will depend on the value and complexity of the claim.

The Law students should be interested in learning about mediation because being a more effective communicator helps the students in all areas of their life, personal (for instance, handling conflict with friends and family better) as well as professional (like understanding and clarifying what clients and supervisors are looking for). The role of the mediator is to help parties reach a solution to their problem and to arrive at an outcome that both parties are happy to accept. Mediators avoid taking sides, making judgments or giving guidance. They are simply responsible for developing effective communications and building consensus between the parties. The focus of a mediation meeting is to reach a common sense settlement agreeable to both parties in a case.