Widely considered to improve the effectiveness of justice systems by helping both the State and litigants avoid the costs and delays of court procedures, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a commonly used mechanism to resolve conflicts in many countries.
In the ongoing accession negotiations between Montenegro and the European Union, ADR was included in the rule of law reforms mandated by the EU. Despite the country having applied for membership in 2008, the EU’s most recent report on Montenegro noted that while ADR was available, it was still not systematically used.
As part of IDLO’s work to help Montenegrin justice professionals deal independently and more effectively with commercial law issues, the organization has been supporting the judiciary in ensuring rule of law reforms are successful and in expanding use of ADR mechanisms.
Judges, prosecutors and representatives of the Montenegrin Centre for Mediation came together to discuss the importance of ADR mechanisms in several training workshops, organized by IDLO in partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the institution responsible for carrying out training of the judiciary authorities in Montenegro, the Centre for Training in Judiciary and State Prosecution Service (JTC).
Participants explored how to apply relevant processes and legislation, covering topics such as interactions between state courts and arbitral tribunals, impartiality of arbitrators, the role judges can play in promoting ADR to the public and legal professionals, and ways of implementing arbitration agreements.
“Improving the skills and the expertise of local judges ultimately results in strengthening the rule of law in Montenegro,” asserted Michelangelo Cicogna, the international expert delivering one of the workshops.
The sessions on ADR were part of a series of commercial law workshops organized by IDLO and EBRD; other topics included land and property law, enforcement of judicial decisions and violation of international treaties. All the training was carried out by national judges, who worked with international experts to develop comprehensive handbooks on each topic. In order to make the information more widely available, and to enhance the capacity of the recently-reformed JTC to develop its curricula on these topics, the handbooks (in Montenegrin) were also published on the website of the JTC.