HAS JOINTLY APPLIED WITH ANGAD KAMATH: In civil cases, in juxtaposition to criminal cases, the decision of how to proceed with the dispute is within the control of the parties. There is no obligation to seek determinative adjudication through the courts if parties can reach a suitable compromise. Clients often seek the counsel of lawyers when it comes to dealing with a dispute. Hence, the philosophy of the role of a lawyer becomes exceedingly important for the invocation of procedures other than litigation as a tool for dispute mitigation. Is the lawyer merely a court practitioner? Does the role of a lawyer emerge only when a dispute arises? We understand the lawyer to be a conflict manager - whose primary function is that of dispute mitigation. The idea of the modern lawyer as a conflict manager is absent in the minds of the masses. A conflict manager is expected to be skilled at the art of negotiation. Crafty negotiations with a view to reaching a compromise can go a long way in relieving the client of his worries, apart from the costs of an oppressive litigation.
When we use the term 'Alternative' to dispute resolution procedures other than litigation, the effect of such a statement indicates that litigation is the norm while the latter is an exception to the normal. But if we think of these two forms of dispute resolution as distinct, conducive to certain forms of dispute, with each having its own characteristic merits and demerits, we are allowing persons to make a well-considered choice as to what is 'appropriate' for resolution of their dispute. Hence the question arises, should we market ADR processes as Alternative dispute resolution or simply promote dispute resolution under the broad umbrella of appropriate dispute resolution which encompasses within its fold both litigation as well as amicable dispute resolution processes. The time has come to undertake serious reforms in our civil justice landscape to make it more accessible, quick and efficient.
Hence, as participants of the Indian Mediation week, we intend to carry out two specific activities to achieve the above-mentioned objectives - A) Behaviour Change Communication B) Information and Education. Similarly, the target audience who would be the subjects of the intended activities can be divided into two groups - 1) Consumers of ADR (companies, individuals, other groups) B) Facilitators of ADR (Advocates, judges, law students). Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) would involve sharing of information in a way which would drive the subjects to increasingly adopt ADR mechanisms, particularly mediation, as the primary resort to dispute resolution. The subjects of BCC would include but are not limited to the youth (senior school students), corporates, women's groups, NGO's. The idea is to target the decision makers of tomorrow.
To satisfy the demand of clients for dispute resolution through mediation, the need of the hour is to build a new brand of lawyers - well equipped with tools required to facilitate mediation. Hence, Information and education would largely involve training in the mediation process. We intend to conduct workshops, seminars and training programmes in collaboration with Pro-ADR groups such as MetaCulture and other such resources.