This project is started by a team of neutrals working with Accords International (AcIn) in light of a recent decision made by the Bar Council of India (BCI).
With this decision, BCI made ‘Mediation with Conciliation’
a compulsory subject to be taught to law students. BCI is a statutory body
established under Section 7 of the Advocates Act (1961) for promoting
legal education and setting standards for institutions that are imparting
AcIn under project MediatEarly intends to equip students, young advocates,
and other professionals with newer techniques in mediation and help them
become successful mediators right at the beginning of their careers.
Also, AcIn is working in the direction of developing conflict resolution as a life
skill to nip conflicts in the bud.
To achieve this AcIn has adopted a three-pronged approach:
Creating Awareness about Mediation and Restorative Justice: AcIn organizes regular webinars and sessions on ‘Mediation and Restorative Justice.’ For such an event minimum requirement of participants is 20. If you are interested in organizing this event for yourself and your peers Contact us.
Training in Mediation: AcIn has launched a set of 40 hours foundation and advanced training programs for students and young professionals in accordance with the training manual given by the Mediation and Conciliation Project Committee, (MCPC) Supreme Court of India. Click here to Know more.
Developing a pan India network of conflict resolvers: AcIn is in a process strives to connect mediators, young professionals students within the Indian subcontinent for innovating new techniques towards resolving community conflicts.
In India mediation started gaining attention as a dispute resolution mechanism more than 20 years ago when Section 89 was inserted in the Code of Civil procedure, 1908 (CPC) through an amendment in 1999. This provision empowers the courts to refer a case for resolution through one of the ADR modes (including Mediation). Subsequently, mediation has found statutory recognition in the Companies Act 2013, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, as well as the Commercial Courts Act, 2015. Recently the Mediation Bill, 2021 was introduced in Rajya Sabha and is now under review with the Standing Committee.
However, mediation is still not accepted as the first choice for dispute resolution in the same manner as litigation. This can be attributed to a range of reasons; general mindset of people that mediation is a sign of weakness, resistance to mediation by lawyers, judges in actively promoting mediation, lack of awareness about mediation, unstructured growth of mediation movement in India, among others.
Resistance to mediation in India can also be attributed to the current pattern of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) curriculums adopted by Indian law schools. ADR is taught as one subject clubbing Arbitration, Mediation, Negotiation, Conciliation, and sometimes Lok Adalats together. Mostly, these courses include 40 hours of lectures and give the students score of 5 credits upon successful completion. This gives mediation not more than 10 hours in these curriculums. Whereas the international and Indian standard for a basic mediation training is of minimum 40 hours of expert lectures, presentations, role plays, feedbacks, demonstrations and independent assessment. Law Commission of India (LCI) has repeatedly recommended in its reports in 2002, 2009, and 2017 that there is an ‘urgent need’ to train law students and lawyers in ADR techniques. Unfortunately, none of the recommendation of LCI were taken forward and incorporated in the legal education in India.
India has witnessed an unprecedented growth in numbers of laws schools. It raised from 800 in 2012 to 1500 in 2019 ! While making mediation as a compulsory subject at law school level is a welcome step by BCI, it is important to ensure that quality education is imparted at all law schools irrespective of their resources. This leaves law schools and the students in a tough spot.
AcIn provides this support to ensure quality education by offering foundation mediation training by experts. If you are an educational institution and want us to schedule such trainings for your students then Contact us.