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Alternative Dispute Resolution: Community-based Mediation as an Auxiliary to Formal Justice in Bangladesh: the Madaripur Model of Mediation

By: Penal Reform International

Mediation is a way of addressing disputes that is voluntary, informal, cost-effective, participatory, compromise-based, local and empowering.  Both the formal and informal systems should work collaboratively. For example, if a dispute cannot be resolved by or through mediation, the parties can take the issue to court. Indeed, in many parts of the world, courts are advocating that litigants and disputants seek to resolve their disputes outside the court through methods such as mediation and conciliation and to take their case to court only if mediation fails. On the other hand, as many disputes are resolved through ADR methods, the existence of nonformal mechanisms reduces the burden on the already congested courts.

This report considers the experiment undertaken in Bangladesh by the Madaripur Legal Aid Association (MLAA) for over a decade. The successes of the Madaripur Model of Mediation (MMM) developed by the MLAA has led many legal aid NGOs in Bangladesh to adapt the Madaripur model or apply its principles in work with the poor.  In this report, the history, development and methods of the MLAA are examined and evaluated in a way that enhances the applicability of lessons learnt here in other contexts.