An important debate in Argentina is related to mediators’ qualifications: “Should all mediators be attorneys, or can they be of any discipline?” Almost all regulations and laws state that within the judicial mediation system, all mediators should be attorneys, while non-attorneys can be “co-mediators.” The debate continues, regardless of the regulations that have been established. Another issue open to debate in Argentina is related to mediators’ fees because regulations specify very low amounts.
Starting in 1996, thanks to the support provided by legislation in the city of Buenos Aires, school, labor, community and family mediations have been conducted. Since the 1990s, a “Labor Conciliation System,” established within the Federal Ministry of Labor Affairs, has governed pre-judicial mandatory mediation for labor conflicts in the city of Buenos Aires.
Community mediation deserves a special mention, which is widespread throughout the country. City councils, ombudsmen offices, NGOs, churches, private and public organizations and offices have adjusted mediation development to the specific needs and contextual culture and characteristics of each community.
Mediation has been institutionalized in Argentina, but there is still a long way to go. Fortunately, initial objectives have created better societies and relationships within the country. By continuing to expand mediation methodologies, both throughout public and private initiatives, mediation can continue to develop in Argentina.
By Lilian Vargas, Senior Fellow – Argentina, Weinstein International Foundation