Resort to court action is a legitimate approach to the resolution of controversies in both the public and business sectors. With the influx of joint public and private investments, new businesses, and private property purchases, Thailand has also seen the inevitable rise in the number of litigations. These controversies lead to the clogging of court dockets. Because of the heavier workload of the judiciary, the resolution of cases necessarily take longer to finish.
Same as in many countries, Thailand has encouraged the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in order to resolve controversies before the issue proper is formally heard by the court. In fact, Thailand has established an Alternative Dispute Resolution Office under the Office of the Judiciary to oversee the application of ADR in the country.
ADR is any kind of mechanism used for settling disputes rather than litigating a controversy in court. ADR is encouraged because the judiciary understands that the longer a dispute persists, the more damage it causes not only to the parties, but to the economy in general. It somewhat gives power to the parties in controversy to decide the fate of their dispute, rather than to have the courts adjudicate on their differences.
Arbitration and Mediation are two forms of Alternative Dispute Resolutions employed by the judiciary in order to ease the congestion in court dockets. Arbitration necessitates the selection of a third party (to be called the Arbiter) who will hear the controversy and render a legally-binding judgement. On the other hand, Mediation involves the assistance of an unbiased mediator who will help the parties reach a mutually-acceptable agreement.
In olden times, young or inexperienced Thais would seek the wisdom of their elders in resolving community issues. This is actually an informal mediation. This is practiced until today. The public and private sectors now utilize mediation more in order to resolve differences at the earliest stage of the conflict.
Mediation is often resorted to in small claims cases where legal costs may be higher than the award. Mediation is funded by the Office of the Judiciary. The parties in mediation accrue minimal expenses.
The Mediator plays a vital role in the process. Not only does he keep the peace between the parties, he likewise assists the participants in designing a solution that would mutually benefit them.
An agreement is reached between parties after mediation. The agreement must specify all the terms and conditions which the parties must fulfil after the mediation is wrapped up. If a party fails to comply with the agreement, the other party may come to court for enforcement of the mediation agreement.
The establishment of mediation centers, the increase in mediation training programs, and the recruitment of many new mediators prove the efficiency of the approach. With mediation, we can demonstrate that despite the fast pace of our new lives, some traditional remedies can still be considered as dependable.