Bosnia & Hercegovina
The Bosnia & Herzegovina mediation system can be described as partially mandatory. Generally, referral to mediation is voluntary and it is not obligatory for courts to propose mediation. Mediation activities are centered around the BiH Association for Mediation, through which generally all mediation activities including trainings are channeled. Parties will also pay the fees for a mediation via the association. Notably, however, the association lacks the power of quality control of mediations, and requirements for the renewal of licenses are missing.
The notable exception to all of the above, however, concerns divorce cases if the spouses have a child together, in which case mediation is compulsory as an attempt at reconciliation. The mediators/ marriage counselors in this case can be either authorized attorneys or authorized personnel (counselors, therapists, social workers) in a Center for Social Work (authorized by Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of FB&H). In the latter case, aside mediation techniques, systemic and family therapeutic techniques are also used. If the request for divorce is filed with the court before a mediation is tried, the court will return the case to a Center for Social Work/Family Center or an authorized attorney to perform the mediation.
The parties may or may not reach an agreement in the mediation and the divorce will still be finalized before the court in a legal procedure.
There are very few referrals in practice. The number of mediators is higher than those active in light of the limited number of mediations enacted An obstacle to higher interlinkage with judicial proceedings might be seen in the fact that if a judge was to refer to a successful mediation, they receive less credit than for a case solved judicially.
The basic legal acts of relevance date from 2004 (“Law on the Mediation Procedures”) and 2005 (see below)
Relevant Organisations and Actors
- Association of Mediation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HR-SR-BS)
- Ministry of Justice of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HR-SR-BS, EN)
- Ministry of Justice of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HR-SR-BS, EN)
- Ministry of Justice Republic of Srpska (HR-SR-BS, EN)