Jordan enacted the Mediation in Resolving Civil Disputes Act (2006) to formalize the mediation process. In 2017, the Law on Mediation underwent minor changes related to confidentiality and fees.
The Jordanian system of mediation is largely court-based. Once a civil case is registered at the Palace of Justice, the Court’s Registrar will recommend referring the dispute to the Mediation Centre at the court. Mediation Centers exist in all courts in the Kingdom. The Mediation Centers are comprised of judges, known as mediation judges, from the Court of First Instance and the Magistrate Court (small claims court).
There are also two other types of mediators in Jordan:
- A panel of special mediators nominated by the head of the judicial council
- Private mediators appointed by the parties
The law accepts private mediation, and allows the parties to choose their own mediators. Under the Mediation Act 2006, however, such types of mediation often lack the enforcement mechanisms provided to court-based mediation.
In addition to court-based mediation programs, there are efforts in Jordan to expand the utilization of mediation outside the court system. In 2016, a new mediation law was proposed to allow the settlement of cases out of court by establishing an independent mediation center (nonprofit center), where parties in a lawsuit could meet with a neutral third party in an effort to settle the case.
The suggested center would have a panel of mediators, either retired judges or lawyers, with proper training in conflict resolution to handle different types of commercial cases. The center would have branches across the kingdom and would be supported by the Jordan Businessmen Association, the Association of Banks, and others. The goal for the proposed law was to reduce the caseload on the court system. Unfortunately, it was not passed by the Parliament.
Despite all of the challenges facing mediation, Jordan continues to make worthy strides toward institutionalizing this process, and it is placing increasing attention on mediation.
By Orouba Qarain, Senior Fellow – Jordan, Weinstein International Foundation