Kosovo is in the midst of implementing a new Mediation law dating from 2018, in which the mandatory element for mediation was extended, thus turning it into a Partially-Mandatory Mediation System judging by the legal set-up. It states that judges in the preliminary hearing are obliged to inform and direct parties to a mediation procedure in disputes regarding:
- family relations such as alimony, custody, visits, child support and division of marital property
- ownership contests related to rights and obligations deriving from the rights of servitudes and compensation of expropriated properties
In addition, the mediation procedure can also be initiated by the parties, a prosecution office or an administrative body. In those specified cases it is the parties’ obligation to meet with a mediator following the referral, and within thirty days to try the commencement of mediation.
In some areas, a well developed infrastructure for referrals between court and centre already exist. This is the case for the Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre in Mitrovica operating since 2013, to which very regular referrals by judges and prosecutors are undertaken and which then implements the mediation procedure. In September 2020 the Centre has been transferred to operation under court administration.
Furthermore, the recent legal changes also strengthened the role of the Chamber of Mediators who, together with the Ministry of Justice, is responsible for maintaining the list of the mediators. The Registry contains all personal data for each mediator and the nature of cases that they have mediated. Copies of the mediators’ registry are distributed to courts, prosecution offices and other competent institutions, depending upon the changes.
Specific to Kosovo, the referring judges obtain credit for the cases solved in mediation, leading to, it is reported, generally high application of the possibility of referral in certain areas such as Mitrovica.