The Commercial Court and the Mediation Center in Montenegro have been cooperating with IFC’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Program since December 2009 and encouraging parties in commercial disputes to try mediation before trying their case in court. The Commercial court president and judges assess which cases are suitable for mediation and refer them to the Mediation Center.
“I was in charge of trying several cases”, says Commercial Court Judge Dijana Raickovic. “I recognized, based on the claims from the complaint and the response to the complaint, those cases that were suitable for mediation. I pointed that out to the parties at the hearing,” and referred them to the Mediation Center, Raickovic said. The cases were completed in a favorable manner, and there was no need for the court to rule on them.
“In the first three months, 14 cases were submitted to us, of which 13 were successfully settled, “ according to Miroslav Knezevic, director of the Republic Mediation Center responsible for implementing mediation activities in Montenegro. “All this helped eliminate barriers to business, because funds were released that would have been blocked in court proceedings for a long time.” In the first round, mediation in commercial disputes released around €13 million in Montenegro – and in one case alone, the value of the dispute exceeded €6 million.
The initial results have convinced the center and the court to expand their cooperation. In the next phase of the joint project they will organize a series of Mediation Week sessions: “All cases that come to the Commercial Court during that week will first be referred to mediation,” Knezevic says.
“Mediation will continue to play a significant role in resolving commercial disputes in Montenegro in the future,” Raickovic says. “I believe that all Commercial Court judges would agree on this assessment.”