'Mediation a way for resolving conflicts'

Alternative dispute resolution can save money and time: official.

Aine Moorad April 03, 2011
'Mediation a way for resolving conflicts'


Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is an important step towards a thriving economy, according to Karachi Centre for Dispute Resolution (KCDR) Director Dr Zafar Ahmad Khan Sherwani.

Speaking at a conference on Saturday, Sherwani said, “Wherever there are humans, there are disputes; but disputes should not be converted into conflicts.” He said ADR was an amicable means of settling disputes, underlining that the mechanism saves time and money. He claimed that 150,000 disputes were pending in court, while the number of judges did not exceed 500.

“The maximum time taken for mediation is three months, and the case can be resolved in less than three hours,” said Sherwani. He was the one who handled the case involving Rubina Rehman, an entrepreneur whose case had been pending in court for a long time. However, once Rehman opted for ADR, her case was settled in merely seven days.

Sherwani was also involved in settling a mediation involving Indus Pencils managing director in a dispute over trademark infringement, which had been pending in court since 1996.

“In developed countries, up to 95 per cent of cases are settled outside courts, in our system, 100 per cent of cases go to court,” explained Sherwani.

He added that several small and medium enterprises (SMEs) had amounts stuck in litigation, claiming mediation could be an effective way forward.

When asked which areas the business community lags in, Sherwani said the business community needed to adopt more open lines of communications. “There is a lack of knowledge of the process,” he said.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, International Industries Company Secretary Neelofar Hameed said many organisations were resorting to mediation as an alternative to going to court.

She believed, however, that certain State Bank of Pakistan regulations and laws made decision-makers conservative when trying to settle commercial disputes.

International Finance Corporation (IFC) Associate Operations Officer Saima Zuberi said this medium of resolution helps the private sector unblock its assets. This mechanism is not only helping the private sector, but is also acting as a building block for the economy.

Zuberi, however, said that since this was a relatively new concept, it may take time to gain footing in the Pakistani business community.

IFC provides technical and financial support to KCDR, which in turn helps businesses resolve disputes, including those that arise over tenancy and intellectual property.

The process of mediation

Once a case of mediation is referred, a mediator is appointed by KCDR, after which mediation sessions are scheduled with both parties.

If parties reach a solution, the mediator drafts a settlement and sends it to court for disposal of the case. The case does not have to be initially registered in court, businesses can directly contact KCDR and schedule a mediation session.


Published in The Express Tribune, April 03rd, 2011.


Shemrez Nauman Afzal | 13 years ago | Reply Good article. ADR is certainly a cornerstone of the future economy.
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