Mediation – A Business Friendly Form of Dispute Resolution
The World Bank’s “ease of Doing Business” report ranks India a poor 186 out of 189 countries on the parameter of “enforcing Contracts” and 137th on the parameter of “Resolving Insolvency”. This is largely on account of the judicial system in India being over-burdened and hence painfully slow. Its not uncommon in India for timelines in litigation to be measured in decades. In the business world, where every day counts, time is money and billion dollar companies emerge in only a few years.
Mediation takes only a day or two of focussed time, with the likely result of a solution, that at best meets the interest of parties and at worst, gives the parties a much better understanding of their position.
In addition to being fast, Mediation is based on a fundamentally different paradigm : self – determination. Parties are in control - determining the terms of settlement and the outcome of mediation. The Mediator facilitates communication and negotiation between the parties, with active participation of legal counsel. Parties are able to find creative and long-lasting solutions that would not be possible in an adjudicative proceeding which is more formal and rigid. Mediation as a process is also strictly confidential and the end result has finality, and fosters business relationships.
Why this Conclave is Important
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Following the success of court annexed mediation in India, the time is now ripe for the development of Private Commercial Mediation. Recent developments in the region are very encouraging in this regard with the establishment of the Center for Advanced Mediation Practice (CAMP) in Bangalore, India and the Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC) in Singapore that provide access to quality and trained mediators and a process that is designed to resolve commercial disputes. The American Bar Association (ABA) is hosting the Asia Pacific International Mediation Summit for the very first time in New Delhi, India early next year. The need for any legal practice to establish a successful ADR Program is also evident in the growing popularity that ADR processes such as mediation has gained in the field of dispute resolution in other jurisdictions around the world. A recent survey conducted in the United States by PriceWaterhouse and Cornell’s PERC Institute on Conflict Resolution of over 530 corporations in the Fortune 1000 category reveals that 90% of respondents in a dispute view ADR as a critical cost-control technique. Client satisfaction after a process like mediation is also very high with settlement rates (during or shortly after mediation) for business disputes at 80-90% as quoted by CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution.
However, mediation is yet to be embraced by the corporate-legal community in India. There is a need to expand knowledge and build awareness on the benefits of mediation in the resolution of commercial disputes. This Conclave is a platform which will create an understanding of a new and dynamic way to resolve legal disputes with renowned international and national experts in mediation. The first one of its kind, this unique, path-breaking event will enable our legal community to learn, discuss and interact with each other and pioneers of mediation from India and the United States on mediation as an effective and significant form of dispute resolution.
The target-audience for this Conclave are top law firms in the region, corporate houses and litigators who will be able to transform the dispute resolution landscape of the country by building a culture of mediation into their dispute resolution practice.