USAID And Ministry of Justice to improve Armenia’s alternative dispute resolution system

On April 25, the USAID-funded Enterprise Development and Market Competitiveness (EDMC) Project and the Ministry of Justice signed a letter of intent to implement business enabling reforms in Armenia and develop the country’s alternative dispute resolution (ADR) system.

From April 2013 to December 2014, the parties will jointly implement a range of activities, including a thorough study of the current ADR system. The EDMC Project will support the Ministry of Justice in the development of legal reforms. These will include drafting of primary and secondary legislation and conducting public hearings and roundtable discussions with stakeholders. The activities will seek to raise public awareness of the reforms and to build confidence in the ADR system through various events.

Through the EDMC Project, USAID will aid the Ministry to develop by-laws, codes of ethics, licensing or testing standards, handbooks, evaluation methodology and other regulations. Training will be organized for arbiters, mediators, judges, legal professionals, NGOs, business people and the wider public. A monitoring system will be put in place to ensure the overall effectiveness of the effort.

At the signing ceremony, the Deputy Minister of Justice, Aram Orbelyan said “alternative dispute resolution is integrated into the legal system of many developed countries. Increased caseload in courts usually makes litigation slower and more costly, which negatively affects the business environment. An effective ADR system is a possible solution to this situation, allowing the disagreeing parties to come to an agreement without litigation.” He added, “The ADR system will not only help to preserve business relationships but will also contribute to increased customer confidence, which is particularly important in areas like tourism where traditional litigation is often impractical.

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