Expanding and empowering the mediation system in Albania
The objective is to contribute to the development of the mediation system as a professional, reliable, and credible alternative to courts. Mediation is one of the so-called “Alternative Dispute Resolution” mechanisms (ADR), which are alternative ways to resolve legal disputes instead of formal legal proceedings. The aim of strengthening the mediation system is to contribute to a reduction of the case backlog in courts and to improving the citizens’ right to access to justice.
1) The National Chamber of Mediators (NCM) is strengthened.
2) Mediators’ skills and capacities improved.
3) Increased number of cases (at least 35% of which involve women beneficiaries) for mediators and referral system improved.
4) Ministry of Justice's (MoJ) supervision role of mediation strengthened.
5) Women increased access to justice through recurring to mediation.
Target group / Beneficiaries
The project targets directly specific groups of judicial actors, such as mediators, judges, prosecutors, and officers of public institutions potentially interested in referring cases to mediation. In total, 625 direct beneficiaries will be targeted. This number includes: 91 mediators, 89 judges, 121 prosecutors, 79 judicial police officers, 45 probation officers and 200 citizens (parties in conflict of the cases financially supported through the project).
The local partner organizations are the Albanian Foundation for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation of Disputes (AFCR) and the NCM. The AFCR is a professional civil society organization in the field of mediation. The organization's experts have trained a large number of mediators, who provide professional mediation services in civil, family and criminal cases. Moreover, they have extensive experience in implementing conflict resolution programs in schools, conducting surveys and researches, organizing trainings with national and international experts, conferences, publishing a wide range of books and manuals in the area of mediation. The NCM is a juridical public legal entity with the mandate to regulate and control the activities of mediators in the Republic of Albania.
- Support on continuous training of the NCM,
- Mediation induction training for mediators,
- Mediation trainings in different areas, e.g. juvenile mediation trainings and family disputes,
- Coaching of and support to mediators,
- Introduction training to mediation for police,
- Support of the MoJ in the maintenance of the online national registry of mediators.
The discussions over the potential opening of negotiations for the accession of Albania to the EU are ongoing, keeping the urge to strengthen mediation as one of the potentially most important instruments to support judicial reform. In general, endemic problems of the judicial system which limit the access to justice, such as extensive corruption, lack of judges and prosecutors and a huge backlog, are the focus of the ongoing judicial reform.
The ongoing vetting, which is finally addressing corruption and clientelism in the judicial sector and creating the conditions for a renewal of trust of citizens in the institution, also has the short-term downside of hugely reducing the number of judges entitled to work and distracting those who still have to be vetted. In this sense, the present situation constitutes the right momentum for mediation to be enhanced.