|Abstract: ||Mediation is one of the most used processes of ADR, where parties to a dispute decide to have a third neutral party to help to resolve their issue. Mediation, compared to traditional litigation, is cheaper, quicker, more informal, flexible and can bring creative and long lasting settlements. It is emphasized that mediation is highly evaluated because of its principles of voluntariness, impartiality and confidentiality. A worldwide strong and growing appreciation for this ADR program leaded to incorporation of mediation into the courts system and since then courts began referring cases to mediation on a regular basis. Courts support mediation not just because of earlier mentioned advantages which are beneficial to the disputing parties, but also as a tool of cleaning their dockets and saving courts costs. Despite the benefits of mediation in today’s litigious society mandatory mediation programs raise a tide of criticism. Mediation advocates state that to preserve fundamental characteristics of mediation it must be an entirely voluntary and nonbinding process where parity is required for the process to be successful. It is said that compulsory mediation is a contradiction in terms and will likely lead to increased, rather than reduced, cost and delay. In addition, mandatory mediation removes the “willingness” element of the process and does not give the parties the appropriate motivation to settle. A court‘s power to order mediation for disputing parties is found in national and international statutes or laws, and national laws regarding mandatory mediation differ from country to country. The distinction exists not just between common law system countries where mediation is used more frequently and is highly developed and civil law countries where mandatory mediation is accepted with caution, but also between former mentioned countries. A court order to mediate if one or both parties to a dispute are unwilling to use mediation has a chance to interfere with the individual‘s right to a fair trial if it is not properly defined or is mandated in specific types of cases with great power imbalances between the parties. According to Article 6 of the ECHR person has a right to a fair and public hearing within reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law and mandatory mediation in this context raises concerns. The main purpose of the work is to analyze connections between mandatory mediation programs and the right to a fair trial and to find out if there is violation of the latter right. The hypothesis is that in certain situations court ordered mandatory mediation violates person’s right to a fair trial. The thesis consist of three parts, first part is intended to make introduction to mandatory mediation, to define mediation’s advantages, emphasize the differences between mandatory and voluntary mediation and show how mandatory mediation is accepted in common and civil law countries. Part two defines a right to a fair trial; and accents the right of access to court through the ECHR case-law. The last part delivers the answer to the question about mandatory mediation and the right to a fair trial analyzing case-law and legal writings. The following conclusions are made after accomplishing set objectives in order to achieve the main purpose: 1. Mediation as an alternative way to resolve disputes is supported by the courts, not only as a beneficial procedure for the parties, but also as a tool for cleaning their dockets. In addition, parties going to mediation to solve their dispute could save time and money, and at the same time efficiency affects judges because it reduces their workloads. 2. Mandatory mediation faces criticism because this court ordered procedure obliges parties to the dispute to come to the table and try to settle, even if one or both of them are unwilling to do that. Any sort of compulsion or encouragement to attend mediation from a person or authority, however, may be subvert, and compromise its consensual character. Furthermore, a mandatory scheme may disadvantage poorer litigants, parties with great imbalances and compromise personal rights. 3. Courts have a power to refer suitable cases to mediation. According to case-law and laws regarding mediation it is established that a court possesses the authority to compel an unwilling party to participate in mediation and to penalize litigants who failed to do that. Nevertheless, is it agreed that a court order to mediate can be issued in appropriate cases and has to contain adequate safeguards to ensure fairness to all parties involved. The main safeguards are limits on the duration of the mediation and the expenses associated therewith. Without setting boundaries, an unsuccessful mediation will postpone the ultimate resolution of the case and prolong the litigation, parties spend money which might be needed in court and mediation’s reputation could be affected. 4. The right to a fair trial is seen as an essential right in all countries respecting the rule of law. According to this right everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. The right of access to a court which is important in the thesis’ context is one of the guarantees which came from an extensive interpretation of Art. 6 of the ECHR. Contrary to arbitration in consumer and employment matters, where arbitration is not voluntary but is instead imposed on consumers or employees through fine-print contracts, denying individuals their right to access the courts, mandatory mediation does not totally deny person’s right to have his day in court. What could happen in the worst case is time delay, additional costs and damage for mediation as a consensual process, but on the other hand it could be considered as interference or violation of the right to access to a court. The party who seeks a day in court may find that mandated mediation creates barriers to access to court and this right is limited or taken away. 5. Financial costs of mediation, settlement pressure and cost penalties for refusing to mediate are the barriers to access to the court. When mediation is ordered by the court and the parties are required to pay for it, an obstruction to access to court is created if the total cost of going to mediation consumes a significant part of the dispute resolution budget. If parties to a dispute are pressured to settle the dispute in mediation because of cost penalties or parties are not on equal footing their right of access to court is violated. 6. Legal practice has an opinion that specific situations and cases exist, for instance family cases where domestic violence occurs or employment cases, where mandatory mediation is not recommended and has a high risk of violating the right of access to a court. When victim of domestic violence is forced to mediate, one party’s lack of power and lack of control is reinforced and the chances of success are decreased, also there are great imbalances and all these can affect the settlement or create pressure to settle, the abused party is deprived of the right to resolve dispute in court.|
Mediacija yra vienas iš pagrindinių alternatyvių ginčų sprendimo būdų, kai tarp šalių kilęs ginčas yra sprendžiamas vieno ar kelių neutralių mediatorių pagalba. Mediacija yra procesas pasižymintis greitumu, efektyvumu, konfidencialumu, sprendimų įvairove bei galimybe sumažinti bylinėjimosi išlaidas. Mediacija ypač populiari Jungtinėse Amerikos Valstijose, iš kur ir yra kilusi, Didžiojoje Britanijoje, Australijoje, kur naudojama sprendžiant verslo, šeimo, darbo, sveikatos ginčus. Dėl savo privalumų mediacija buvo inkorporuota į teismų sistemą ir teismai ėmė skatinti kuo daugiau bylų nagrinėti šiuo alternatyviu būdu, nes tai palengvino teisėjų darbą, o tuo pačiu sumažino teismų išlaidas.Teismų galia skirti privalomąją mediaciją, kai viena ar net abi ginčo šalys nesutinka tokiu būdu spręsti tarp jų kilusio konflikto kelia kritikos bangą. Mediacija savo prigimtimi yra savanoriškas, abiejų šalių sutikimu pasirinktas procesas, tačiau teismui paskyrus ją be šalies/-ių sutikimo, greičiau atsiras priešiškumas, papildomos išlaidos ar sugaištas laikas, nei motyvuotas noras išspręsti konfliktą. Pagrindinis darbo tikslas yra išanalizuoti sąsajas tarp privalomos mediacijos ir asmens teisės į tinkamą teisinį procesą, o tiksliau, asmens teisės kreiptis į teismą. Darbe iškeliama hipotezė, kad teismo paskirta privaloma mediacija tam tikrose situacijose pažeidžia asmens teisę į tinkamą teisinį procesą. Siekiant atsakyti į užduotą klausimą darbe yra išskiriami pagrindiniai mediacijos privalumai bei principai, analizuojami skirtumai tarp privalomos ir laisvai pasirinktos mediacijos, taip pat kaip privaloma mediacija yra naudojama skirtingose tiek bendrosios, tiek civilinės teisės šalyse, kaip privaloma mediacija gali pažeisti asmens teisę kreiptis į teismą ir ar yra tam tikrų specifinių situacijų ar ginčų, kur privaloma mediacija nerekomenduojama. Atlikus iškeltam tikslui pasiekti uždavinius daroma išvada, kad teismo paskirta privaloma mediacija automatiškai neatima iš asmens teisės kreiptis į teismą, kaip yra arbitražo atveju, tačiau tam tikromis aplinkybėmis bei specifinėse bylose ši teisė yra pažeidžiama arba ribojama, ja kliudoma pasinaudoti, pvz., šeimos bylose, kur egzistuoja smurtas bei darbo santykių bylose, kuriuose šalių padėtis yra netolygi ar gali būti daromas spaudimas.