The present state of mediation in Poland has been influenced primarily by two major themes: 1) the legacy of the Solidarity movement from the early eighties, when the ground-breaking agreement between the Communist regime and the workers from the Lenin Shipyard was negotiated, and 2) the powerful trend to modernize almost everything in the country, including the legal culture.
The historical negotiated agreement between the Communist regime and the workers of the Lenin Shipyard provides powerful justification for efforts to negotiate and seek solutions that provide “No winners and no losers,” as said by Lech Wałęsa, the former leader of Solidarity. The imperative to modernize the country demands reorganization of the dispute resolution system in order to reduce backlogs in the courts and provide citizens with faster, more affordable and “tailor-made” solutions.
Mediation has been recently woven into numerous fields of law, including: criminal, civil, commercial, family and labor. There are various professional mediator associations involved in the standardization of mediator conduct and ethical behavior. Fictional books on mediators have been published and sold with great success.
Mediation in Poland is now private and contractual, as well as court-referred, although still maintaining its voluntary principles. At this juncture, it appears that the future of everyday mediation in Poland has arrived.
By Maciej Tański, Senior Fellow-Poland, Weinstein International Foundation