On 10th of January, the MERI Professional and Law Institute successfully organised an International Seminar and Panel Discussion on “Restorative Justice and Mediation Laws”. The conference was a huge step forward in uniting legal experts, scholars, and industry professionals to explore the crucial role of mediation in India. With a diverse and insightful program, the event was a landmark gathering for those interested in the intersection of mediation as a mode of alternative dispute resolution, especially in the context of restorative justice.
The event began with an introduction by Prof. (Dr.) Preet Singh, Principal, MERI Professional and Law Institute, who laid down the brief of the topic and structure of the panel discussion. He discussed the importance of mediation as a technique in civil matters and laid down the question of whether mediation can be used in criminal matters as well. Thereafter, Prof. (Dr.) Rakesh Khurana, Advisor, MERI, discussed how in international conflicts such as the Israel-Palestine conflict and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, mediation plays a huge role in both the settling the conflict and ascertaining damages, if any.
Prof. Anand Prakash Mishra, Professor of Practice & Associate Dean, Jindal Global Law School, delivered an astute address where he discussed how ADR mechanisms present hope in a country ridden with pending cases. He also talked about how ADR mechanisms have opened the door for this profession to be more globalised. He thereafter encouraged law students and young advocates to specialise in the field of ADR and highlighted the bright prospects of the same.
Mr. Param Bhamra, the Founding Partner of MediateGuru, renowned advocate and author of multiple books and journal publications on ADR mechanisms, delivered an insightful address on the evolution of mediation in India and practicalities concerning the same in the modern space.
Mr. Bhamra began his address by eloquently laying down the evolution of mediation in India. He talked about his personal experiences in dealing with mediation in matrimonial cases. He explained how in cases of divorce, mediation could be both time and cost effective. In the earlier times, there was a hesitation in considering mediation as an effective option to resolve disputes. However, as the time as evolved, the clients started resorting to mediation, not only because of its time and cost related benefits but also because it provides an opportunity to understand the position of the opposite party outside the realm of a court.
He used the example of theories like communism and capitalism to draw out differences between courtrooms and mediation settings, making the discussion interactive. Laying down the benefits of mediation, he noted, “if we go to a courtroom, a judge will decide what will happen to us, if we go to mediation, the power and liberty to decide would somehow be in our hands.” Such alternative dispute mechanisms also relieve the state from the burden of pending cases and essentially prove as “private forms of justice”, he added.
Reminiscing his days of law school, he talked about how there was very little guidance pertaining to mediation in India. He founded MediateGuru to fill this immense gap regarding mediation and also help the judiciary relieve its burden. Advocating India as an upcoming “international mediation hub”, he added how mediation will become more effective post the passing of the Mediation Act. Additionally, he talked about how mediation is more cost-effective than other forms of ADR mechanisms.
His recorded session can be viewed at – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Bm2fljsV5w
In the Q&A session, he addressed concerns regarding enforceability of a mediation settlement agreement in comparison with an arbitration award. He noted how such settlement agreements will have the same effect as a court decree. He also mentioned how mediation is a “win-win” method where both parties effectively agree on the settlement making it easier to enforce.
The event also featured addresses by various legal luminaries such as Mr. Pascal Comvalius, IMI Certified Mediator, Certified Hostage/Crises Negotiator; Ojasvita Srivasta, General Counsel, Securities AMEA, Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific and Mr. Aditya Mathur, Advocate, Founding Partner at Mediate Guru, MCIArb.
MERI, established in 1994, is a group of higher and technical education institutions that are promoted by Triveni Educational and Social Welfare Society. The main objective of MERI is to train human resources and fulfill educational needs of the companies and MNCs looking for technical and management executives at various levels. MERI offers a range of programs including Master in Business Administration (MBA), Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Bachelor of Computer Applications (BCA), Bachelor of Commerce (B.COM), and Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication (BA JMC). MERI is affiliated with Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU) and is approved by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), and couple of state ministries’ statutory bodies responsible for technical education in India