International Centre for Appropriate Dispute Resolution & Prevention

our Vision

Our vision is to institutionalize Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms and revolutionize the legal system of Pakistan. Because of delays in Justice systems in Pakistan denying people of Pakistan any meaningful access to justice, there is a dire need for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to supplement the existing systems.

The Project envisaged in this proposal paper is aimed at creating an International Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution and Prevention (ICADRP) to facilitate access to justice through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), promote women in the practice of ADR, and to provide a successful blend for improved access to justice and court services.

Under the auspices of a Centre, services and trainings will be provided to individuals, governments, companies, and foreign missions to strengthen access to justice within the borders and foster peace across borders through collaboration with multiple entities.

Multiple measurable activities will be undertaken under the project to achieve direct and indirect benefits for the community, and the project will have the effect of

  1. Institutionalizing ADR
  2. Building the capacity
  3. Building the infrastructure
  4. Ensuring Publicity of ADR
  5. Introducing efficiencies in legal systems
  6. Promoting women’s access to justice and their participation in ADR

    The Centre will operate in collaboration with existing scattered efforts taken domestically. The Chief Executive Officer will be Dr. Nudrat E. Piracha, who is well suited to lead the initiative given her experience and affiliations domestically and internationally. The management committee will consist of experts in various areas. The Committees will be responsible for promoting their designated objectives. The Staff will facilitate the day to day running of the center.

    The center will ensure transparency and visibility and will adopt methods to make itself sustainable. 

Aims And Objectives of The Centre

The Project is aimed at creating an International Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution and Prevention (ICADRP) to facilitate, in particular, women’s access to justice through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), promote women in the practice of ADR, and to provide a successful blend for improved access to justice and court services.

ICADRP will be an access to justice initiative. It shall be a pioneer in providing full range of ADR services not only to individuals but also to private entities and the Government of Pakistan. Consequently, filling the gap left by a broken justice system and expensive international arbitrations, leaving the litigants, especially the underprivileged, with no meaningful l recourse to justice. The resort to ADR will provide a welcome opportunity that would expand the frontiers of justice and enable litigants to attain a form of justice that is democratic, fair, accountable, sensitive, responsive, and effective.

International Centre for Appropriate Dispute Resolution & Prevention

project summary

International Centre for Appropriate Dispute Resolution & Prevention

project statement

According to the latest report of the Law Commission, about 2 million cases are pending in Pakistani courts, of which 45,125 are pending in the Supreme Court.[1] The justice system is broken and delayed.[2]  The exchequer bleeds due to the inefficiencies of the system. According to one report for the years 2014-2018, the exchequer was spending Rs. 6.5 billion (2018) on just the minor offenses/local and special laws in a few districts that the report covered:[3]

Even though a significant number of Pakistani laws provide for ADR and ADR laws have been enacted in Pakistan, there is a dire need to create access to justice for the socially deprived by providing Court Annexed/Private ADR facilities and services, and for the society to have a meaningful and effective justice system. The weaker segments of society and women are especially affected by the absence of any meaningful legal system.

A meaningful justice system can be achieved only by providing an effective ADR system to promote access to justice and improving existing systems.

The economy is suffering due to lack of any meaningful redress available domestically for foreign investments that is confidence-inspiring and cost effective. For ease of doing business Pakistan is ranked at 108 by the world bank ranking.

In particular, women are deprived of any meaningful property rights and land distribution has been disproportionate along gender lines. A survey, conducted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in rural areas of Punjab in 2014, showed that only 36 women out of a thousand surveyed households had entitlement to ownership and out of these only 9 had the power to sell or trade without the permission of their male relatives.

ADR offers a promising solution to the shortcomings and delays inherent in the Pakistani legal system. An ADR center to resolve and prevent disputes, having quality parallel to international centers, is the need of the hour in Pakistan.

High levels of inter-company indebtedness forces many companies to turn to the courts for resolving these issues. As a consequence, the workload of the court is increased without an apparent positive effect – even with a favorable court decision and a writ of execution judgment creditors cannot collect their debts and waste valuable resources to force their former partners to pay instead of trying out cost effective means of dispute resolution.

The sporadic efforts of single persons and organizations have had only a transitory effect. Thus, lack of relevant information about the alternatives to the court and a center with capacity to provide the required services has restricted people and businesses from using the whole spectrum of dispute resolution methods.

The growth of this positive momentum in ADR in Pakistan should be captured and streamlined in the right direction. Thus, the need to create a center in Islamabad, the Federal capital, and sustaining it through time will be crucial for the endorsement of ADR in the country. Furthermore, replication of the Center at other selected courts will establish a unified Pakistan model for court-referred ADR and private ADR. Eventually, it will increase access to justice for citizens and businesses.

The overall goal of the Project is to promote the use of ADR by creating a center and strengthening the capacity of the Center and courts to offer ADR.

In pursuing this goal, the Project will concentrate on these specific objectives:

  • Optimizing the institutional strength of the Center. The Project will build on the already established foundation to institutionalize the Center and its services. The dispute resolution services of the Center will be extended to serve the needs of women, litigants, companies, foreign missions, government, business entities, and courts. The specific actions in this activity include strategic planning, administrative and technical assistance, consultations related to development of effective systems for administration and access of women to justice, quality control, and customer satisfaction, selection, and development of ADR.

International Centre for Appropriate Dispute Resolution & Prevention

Objective for goals

  • Developing a system to improve alternative dispute-resolution capacity of judges and ADR providers working at the Center. The Project will answer the need for bettering the professional skills of both groups by providing tailor-made advanced or specialized trainings to judges and ADR providers to ensure their fitness for the job and equally high quality for the services offered. The Project will also target a greater group of judges than the ones presently involved by providing a new group of judges with basic training – a method that has proven its efficiency in time and has contributed to the attraction of more judges to the cause. Judges and court administrators from other courts in the country will be invited to participate in the trainings to encourage their interest in ADR and settlement centers and to build the capacity of the centers and users.
  • Promoting the model and the ADR procedure through targeted awareness campaigns among judges, court clerks, lawyers, and the public in general. Information will be provided to the main stakeholders – judges, court clerks, lawyers, and disputing parties through printed materials, media channels, and face-to-face informational events. Regular information will be posted on the websites of the applicant and its partners to ensure that the general public and all interested parties will receive regular information on progress.
  • Promoting Women in ADR and increasing their access to justice through ADR. To encourage women in ADR the Centre will (i) advance the interests of female practitioners and promote women and diversity in international dispute resolution; (ii) enable women to meet for professional, cultural, and academic purposes; (iii) establish and maintain an international network of women involved in dispute resolution in any capacity, including, arbitrator, mediator, expert, adjudicator, surveyor, facilitator, lawyer, neutral, ombudswoman, or forensic consultant; (iv) raise awareness about the role of women and diversity in dispute resolution; (v) Help to develop women in dispute resolution professionally; (vi) provide mentoring for women to advance their careers in dispute resolution; (vi) foster communications and exchanges of information of interest to Members and other practitioners in dispute resolution; (ix) organize meetings, conferences, training seminars, and other events connected with dispute resolution; (x) publish information papers, notes of meetings or other research documents; (x) provide sponsorship, to the extent possible and under the conditions established by the Board, for women law students or young women lawyers to participate in law competitions; (xi) promote and publicize the activities of the Centre and its Members through social media, digital communication, and publications; and (xii) liaise with other professional organizations to further its purpose.

International Centre for Appropriate Dispute Resolution & Prevention

methodology

In promoting women in ADR, creating access to justice, and strengthening the institutional capacity of the Center, the Project will build on best international practices. Relying heavily on existing efforts in Pakistan and experience of the Weinstein Foundation and its Fellows, the Project will analyze best models and adapt them to the local conditions following a participatory process – all stakeholders will be consulted to ensure their future support.

As regards promoting women in ADR, the Center will encourage Pakistani women and create alliance with other organizations and institutions to further its objectives. The Centre will particularly focus on cases involving rights of women to increase their access to ADR systems. In relation to access of women to justice, the Centre will focus on disputes about women, the mediation project in the Province of Punjab has amply demonstrated that a majority of the cases referred to the centers related to family disputes, and there was a high rate of success in relation to matters referred to the mediators.

As regards training methodology, the applicant is one of four persons in Pakistan to have qualified as a Doctor of Juridical Sciences (S.J.D.) from the U.S., the only female S.J.D. in ADR, and has extensive experience in this field.  She will collaborate with national and international Fellows to provide mediation certificate trainings and be instrumental in devising a well-established internationally proven adult-training methodology, which will be applied in all the trainings planned within this Project. Besides the local experience utilized, the Centre will employ good working relationships with colleagues – mediators and judges nationally and internationally to select the most useful training topics and techniques.

In terms of awareness building, the Centre will follow a comprehensive communication strategy which will entail the use of different communication channels – sending out information through institutional partners, media campaigns, publications in specialized editions, direct meetings with target audiences, etc.

A key element in the Project’s approach and methodology will be cooperation with the courts and government and attracting a greater group of supporters from amongst judges and lawyers which are key groups for the success of the initiative. In building the argument the Centre will use these positive developments:

  • The existing favorable legislation. The changes made in the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 which require judges to refer parties to mediation in family cases and generally encourage referral to mediation in an array of criminal, civil, and commercial cases, have increased the interest in this procedure on behalf of judges, lawyers, and citizens.
  • An available critical mass of judges and mediators supporting the Center. The trained judges and the volunteer ADR providers are available to support the program. The Centre will use their capacity in all project activities – judges will continue to refer cases but will also be trained as trainers to ensure the sustainability of knowledge while volunteer ADR providers will be involved in provision of services, perfecting the work of the Center and increasing the awareness of the general public.

The Activities under the Project will include:

 

  1. Building the infrastructure for a full-fledged ADR program
  2. Training ADR providers and case managers
  3. Provide public information on the program and the benefits of ADR through launch event, conferences, webinars, media, website, brochures, and other information dissemination activities.
  4. Creating affiliations and collaborations to centralize existing scattered efforts

International Centre for Appropriate Dispute Resolution & Prevention

activities

International Centre for Appropriate Dispute Resolution & Prevention

direct And indirect beneficiaries

By implementing the goal and objectives specified above, the Project will be of use to the following groups:

  • direct beneficiaries: women, Courts, judges, and court administrators from these courts, and ADR providers, which beneficiaries will receive administrative, technical, consulting, and training assistance;
  • indirect beneficiaries: women, businesses, lawyers, media, other courts, which will be acquainted with the opportunities of the cooperation model between ADR providers and judiciary for improved access to justice and out-of-court dispute resolution, and the judiciary and society in Pakistan in general – by increasing the number of cases settled through ADR.
  • One of the most important features of ADR methods is their voluntary and confidential character. In a broader perspective, these features are also relevant to the private sector. The Project will focus on providing end-users with a swifter, cheaper, and more flexible procedure for resolving disputes. These traits are especially appealing to the business community as it prefers to operate in an environment where disputes are resolved promptly, and business can continue developing without interruption.

The increased use of ADR will lead to preserving business relationships, thus allowing long time partners from the private sector to continue their cooperation and even overcome difficult moments in time of global crisis.

Making ADR popular among private companies will, on the one hand, help this method move beyond its novelty stage and become recognized among business circles as an effective conflict management tool. But both Pakistan and foreign investors will be exposed to an alternative that is more convenient and where they can reach an agreement covering topics and issues much broader than what could be discussed in court.

The selection procedure for participation of personnel in the trainings and other events under the Project will consider the principle of gender balance, which will be measured by the number of participants of both sexes. The gender ratio in the court system will also be considered to provide both sexes with equal opportunity to participate in the program. The same principles of gender balance will be applied to volunteer mediators.

This Project has one of its specific objectives to introduce a strategic approach to informing the public and getting key groups and stakeholders involved in developing ADR. The team will apply a variety of communication tools and use various media channels – Internet and electronic media, printed materials, specialized editions, etc. Special attention will be given to the involvement of journalists in the promotion and dissemination of the advantages of ADR by acquainting them with the practical tools and opportunities of the procedure on a targeted seminar.

Media appearance will be centered on newsworthy events – openings of the Centre, live demonstrations, presentation of statistics from the results of the Centre, etc.

Besides their settlement activity, few professionals are already actively promoting ADR through awareness raising activities by giving interviews for radio and TV programs, magazines, and newspapers.

International Centre for Appropriate Dispute Resolution & Prevention

outreach, Transparency, and visibilty

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