Senior Fellow – Serbia

Ivana Ninčić Österle is the Executive Director of the International Mediation Institute. She is a lawyer, mediator and public policy consultant for judicial reform, specializing in mediation and judicial efficiency.

About Ivana Ninčić Österle

Ivana Ninčić Österle is the Executive Director of the International Mediation Institute. She is a lawyer, mediator and public policy consultant for judicial reform, specializing in mediation and judicial efficiency.

During her second-year undergraduate studies, Ms. Ninčić was inspired by the possibilities that mediation and mediation techniques can provide, when she attended an extracurricular course taught by a U.S. lawyer and scholar. In Serbia, mediation is a rare occurrence. Over the years, however, she watched much time and energy be tied up in uncertain disputes, which further convinced her to become a mediation advocate.

Since 2013, she has supported the Ministry of Justice of Serbia in EU integration. She has worked on devising a more sustainable mediation system and on promoting mediation, including leading the initiative to sign the Singapore Convention. Between 2014 and 2020, Ms. Ninčić served as a national correspondent and deputy member of the European Commission for Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ), where she collected and analyzed judicial statistics and analysis, compared European standards and best practices, and promoted them. Most recently, CEPEJ has developed a “Mediation Development Toolkit” to assist in the implementation of the CEPEJ Guidelines on mediation in the 47 Council of Europe states.

Litigation Practice

Ms. Ninčić began her legal career as a trainee attorney-at-law and associate in one of Belgrade’s leading full-service law firms. She focused on commercial and civil law practice, representing clients before civil and commercial courts and arbitral tribunals, where she gained significant insight into civil procedure and enforcement, as well as court organization and functioning.

Mediation Practice

Ms. Ninčić has been registered as a mediator since 2016. Her primary mediation practice areas are:

  • Property, including intellectual property
  • Contracts, both civil and commercial, especially cross-border
  • Family disputes
ADR Achievements and Training

  • Since 2016, Ms. Ninčić has supported the Ministry of Justice in the active promotion of mediation as a viable, appropriate dispute resolution pathway. She continuously coordinates with and facilitates between all relevant stakeholders, including: the courts, Judicial Academy, Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Serbian Intellectual Property Office, etc. on designing and implementing mediation programs, legal framework, workshops and promotional events. She has participated in the drafting of amendments to the Law on Mediation in Dispute Resolution and, most notably, the Joint Guidelines for Enhancing the Use of Mediation, which were enacted on June 28, 2017.
  • In 2017, Ms. Ninčić cooperated with two pilot courts – Second Basic Court in Belgrade and Basic Court in Kragujevac and Judicial Efficiency Project (JEP) in order to design and prepare activities for the Mediation Week, October 25, 2017, the week of the European Day of Justice.
  • She completed the Mediator’s Basic Training Course pursuant to the legal framework in Serbia and has since undergone continuous training, enhancing her mediation and case management skills. She has also taken specialized training, such as “Mediating Commercial Disputes,” organized by ADR Partners LTD.
  • She was awarded a Weinstein JAMS International Fellowship (2107).
  • She attended the “Mediating the Litigated Case™” course of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University and attended the “International Court ADR Institute” at the Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution at UC Hastings College of Law, which was designed to analyze effective models of court-annexed and court-connected ADR programs and consider best practices for the management of ADR service providers.

ADR Teaching and Mentoring

  • Ms. Ninčić regularly participates in national and regional conferences on mediation and arbitration, moderates and facilitates discussions, and delivers presentations on contentious regulatory issues. Most recently, she has spoken at the X Belgrade Arbitration Conference, moderated a discussion on mediation credentialing at a Balkan Regional Network of Mediators meeting in Bucharest, Romania, and spoken at an EBRD project conference on how the regulatory framework improves the quality of mediation.
  • She has been appointed to the first board for promotion and training of mediation of the Arbitration Association, though which she plans to further raise awareness on mediation practice and its benefits among the legal community.

Publications and Education


Ms. Ninčić has written extensively in legal journals and other publications and provided specific input for relevant public policy documents and reports.

Educational Qualifications

  • Passed both the Attorney-at-Law Exam of the Belgrade Bar Association (2014) and the Republic of Serbia Bar (Judicial) Exam (2013)
  • Master of Laws (LL.M) from the Graduate Academic Program Master in European Integration at the University of Belgrade Faculty of Law (2012)
  • Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from the Faculty of Law of the University of Belgrade (2009)

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