Due to an increasing number of cases filed in the courts, the Iranian legislature realized that alternative dispute resolution initiatives were needed. As a result, the legislature formed bodies (shoraye hale ekhtelaf) to mediate and arbitrate small claims before they reached the court system. The members of these bodies can be non-lawyers and are often members of other professions (engineers, accountants, etc.) These court-annexed bodies, which need not follow the formalities of the civil procedure code, have helped the Iranian judiciary better manage its overwhelming caseload.
Recently, the Iranian legislature has formalized the mediation process for criminal cases in the new criminal procedure code. Pursuant to this code, a judge is allowed to postpone a criminal proceeding for three months, and direct the parties to mediate their claim.
In addition to the bodies described above, the law recognizes privately held institutions that can undertake mediation matters.
Despite all of these efforts, there is still a long way to go to establish robust mediation processes in Iran. In addition, there is insufficient data to measure the impact of mediation in the Iranian judicial system, as well as provide an accurate analysis of the future of mediation in Iran.
By Farshad Ghodoosi, Senior Fellow-Iran, Weinstein International Foundation