I. The Beginnings
Custom is a second human nature and the Romanian justiciable has inoculated itself for years the concept that any misunderstanding should be resolved in a court of law. In the United States of America there is a different view: only after the complete failure of alternative conflict resolution methods (Alternative Dispute Resolution ADR), the case shall be taken to a court of law. There is a rational implication of this choice: the judge, a person foreign to the parties’ problems, shall never find the most profitable solution (for the parties) for eradicating the misunderstandings between them, the most suitable for this task are the persons involved in the conflict. However, the opinion of the Romanian justiciable is about to change, due to mediation.
At the beginning of the 90’s, the first Romanian mediators trained abroad began to work inside non-governmental organizations, pro bono, outside any clearly defined legal status. Starting with 2003, a pilot project in Craiova developed together with the Ministry of Justice and the US Embassy convinced the Romanian law enforcement of the necessity of ensuring a legal frame in the field of mediation, and in 2006 the Law of Mediation and the Mediator was enforced, considering the great demand in this area and due to Romanian’s joining the European Union.
II. The Present
Until the beginnings of mediation in Romania, the concept of ADR has been barely known.
In 2008, the first authorized mediators register appeared, counting now more than 1000 mediators. Beside these, at least other 1000 mediator have been trained for the past years.
The Law of Mediation enforced in 2006 had a recent amendment in 2009, and a new amendment is pending. In Romania, mediation can be applied as a matter of principle in practically every type of conflict being an optional procedure. The law enforcement established special provisions regarding mediation in certain law fields especially related to penal conflicts, civil conflicts, family conflicts and, recently, labour conflicts.
The parties may apply to mediation before or after a trial has been pursued, and they have the right to solve through mediation any conflict regarding any of their rights. A recent provision stipulates that the law enforcement bodies are bound to inform the parties on the existence on mediation procedure and its benefits.
The future of conflict resolution in Romania is, without a doubt, strictly connected to the process of mediation, the 21st century being the century of amiably solved conflicts, outside the court of law.
The purpose of mediation law is reducing the volume of court activities and to relieve them of as many causes as possible, thus increasing the quality of justice by satisfying the parties’ needs. Being part of a few dozens of mediation associations, the Romanian mediators come from the most diverse environments: juridical, economical, technical, medical, etc., but being a mediator is stronger than any boundary imposed by the basic profession.
The number of mediations in Romania is not very large (around 2000 mediations, most of them pro bono), but the Romanian mediators look hopefully into the future, although mediation as profession is not fully consolidated and their views on being a mediator vary. It is intended to make mediation compulsory in more than one field as long as the number of Romanian mediators reaches 3000 professionals.
There is a favourable future for mediation in Romania because mediation, no matter the local flavour, offers useful and necessary answers for any modern society being a win-win solution. And the mediators are a special type of intellectuals, benefiting from charisma and vision, and they are fully aware of their mission and goal: which is to generate and maintain good relationships between people and to educate the society as a whole.
1. „Alternative Conflict Resolution Methods” (ADR), Zeno ?u?tac and Claudiu Ignat, editura Universitara 2008
2. „Mediation – standards and procedures”, Zeno Sustac, Cristi Danilet, Claudiu Ignat, Editura Universitara, Bucuresti, 2009
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