Mediation Developments in Belarus
Since the enactment of the Law on Mediation in 2014, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministers Council have approved rules for mediation and rules for professional ethics, providing the modern legal framework for mediation in Belarus. The Ministry of Justice must certify all mediators in Belarus. In order to obtain this certification, lawyers must pass a 140-hour foundational training course, and non-lawyers must pass a 170-hour training course. There are currently three national mediation centers in the country, approved by the government to train mediations. As of mid-2018, 500 Belarussian mediators had been certified.
Mediation Practices in Belarus
Mediation can be used in both out of court disputes, as well as in litigation pending before the courts.
Belarussian legal rules do not establish compulsory mediation or pre-trial meetings with a mediator, except when the parties have agreed to such a provision. The court does not have the right to order parties to use mediation. Instead, it is only required to inform the parties of their right to resolve their dispute using mediation, if they so choose.
Sphere of Application
The Law on Mediation regulates the list of disputes that can be resolved through mediation. Disputes arising from civil legal relations, including economic legal relations, as well as disputes arising from labor and family legal relations can be resolved in mediation. Mediation regarding disputes with governmental entities is not permitted.
The mediation agreement must be in writing. If the mediation was conducted in the context of litigation pending before the court, the mediation agreement is not a final document. In this case, the court drafts and approves the settlement agreement. The possibility of compulsory execution of mediation agreements is provided for commercial disputes.
Status of the Mediator
A mediator may conduct mediations following receipt of a certificate from the Ministry of Justice and after being included in the Register of Mediators This certificate can also be obtained by a person with a higher education after having completed a training course for mediators, or having experience as a judicial conciliator.
The mediator has the status of an independent person, and is also granted witness immunity with respect to information obtained during the mediation process.
By Tatsiana Bialiayeva, Senior Fellow-Belarus, Weinstein International Foundation