Nepal Legalizes Community Mediation
Wednesday, April, 23, 2014
The Nepali government, recognizing that community-organized and -led mediation procedures, despite a traditional lack of legal status, have long been used as a practical solution to local disputes, has moved to recognize the legitimacy of local mediation processes. A new act introduced for a vote would legitimize existing mediation processes and bodies and place them under the jurisdiction of a Mediation Council, under the ultimate authority of the Judicial Council.
The Mediation Council would include as members the Secretary of Ministry, the Secretary of Local Development, and the Secretary of Law, as well as the General Secretary of the Nepal Bar Association, a deputy attorney general to be named and the registrar of apex court, and will be chaired by an appointed Supreme Court Justice. The council will handle licensing of mediators and registration of organizations seeking to offer mediation services.
The move is the result of two simple facts: The Nepali court system is overloaded with cases, and the fact that 70% of all mediation already takes place at the local level in Nepal despite a lack of official recognition. The Nepali government has decided that it’s easier to adapt to the real-world situation than to try and force the entire country into an overloaded and stress court system.
The legislation is being welcomed in all areas. Nepal Bar Association General Secretary, Sunil Pokharel, said “In our context, the regular legal system is both time consuming and expensive. The legal framework which recognizes community mediation can play role in effective justice delivery.”