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EBRD and UK support commercial mediation in Moldova

By Lucia Sconosciuto

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EBRD and UK support commercial mediation in Moldova

Project will boost businesses’ access to justice and improve investment climate

The Legal Transition team at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), with support from the UK government’s Good Governance Fund, has launched a technical cooperation project in Moldova to promote the use of commercial mediation in the resolution of commercial disputes among the business community.

Alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation present many benefits to businesses and are fundamental to well-governed economies. Mediation, a process whereby a neutral third party assists disputing parties in resolving conflicts through negotiation, improves access to justice by making the process cheaper and faster than relying exclusively on courts. It ultimately helps to improve the business environment and consequently increase investor confidence.

Moldova adopted a new law on mediation in 2015 which is currently being implemented. The EBRD’s Legal Transition team has been supporting the Moldovan Ministry of Justice’s work on this priority reform since 2013 by extending technical assistance funded by the government of Luxembourg to, among other things, pilot court-annexed mediation and implement training programmes for mediators.

This new project, which builds on the success of previous experience, will assist the government of Moldova in deepening the implementation of commercial mediation. It will help develop the necessary secondary legislation to strengthen the legal framework for alternative dispute resolution and at the same time it will promote mediation on a national scale.

The technical assistance will focus on training professional mediators, expanding the network of court-annexed mediation and expanding the capacity of the recently-established mediation centre at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Moldova.

Other activities will focus on raising awareness among the legal and business communities about the advantages of commercial mediation and introducing mediation courses into the curricula of the law departments at Moldovan universities.

The project was launched in Chișinău in the presence of Moldova’s Minister of Justice, Vladimir Cebotari; Head of the Supreme Court of Justice, Mihai Poalelungi; President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sergiu Harea; and the UK Ambassador to Moldova, H.E. Lucy Joyce.

The project is part of the EBRD’s Investment Climate and Governance Initiative which aims to support reform-minded governments and its corporate clients to increase transparency, good governance and healthy competition in the countries where the Bank invests.

The project is supported with UK aid from the UK Government’s Good Governance Fund, which aims to facilitate improvements in the business climate, support reform of the tax system and reduction of bureaucracy in order to generate more foreign and local investments as well as to support rule of law, freedom of expression and democratic debate.

H.E. Ambassador Lucy Joyce said: “I am pleased that the UK is helping to introduce the practice of alternative dispute resolution in Moldova as a means to provide a quicker and easier way to resolve disputes. This will also reduce the burden on the courts, which should mean that other cases can be resolved more quickly and access to justice will be increased.”

Dmitri Gvindadze, EBRD Head of Moldova, said: “Rule of law, fair administration of justice and level playing field define the ability to achieve and retain private sector-driven economic growth. We are grateful to the British government for their support of this key initiative.”

Kim O’Sullivan, Associate Director of the EBRD’s Legal Transition team, added: “This project supports Moldova’s government in its effort to increase transparency and good governance. The law on mediation adopted in 2015 is making strides and with this project the EBRD is helping to strengthen the use of mediation in business disputes in the country.”

The EBRD is the largest institutional investor in Moldova, with over €1.1 billion of cumulative investment in more than 110 projects in agribusiness, energy, the financial sector, infrastructure and manufacturing.

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