The law is all-encompassing. Its protective coat extends to all people regardless of race, color, religion, sex and social status. Therefore, its voice should be heard by everyone and its control lamp should be easily accessible, especially for those who need it most. In view of this principle, one is easily inspired by the efforts of students, attorneys and lawyers in the Street Law Project. Spreading the word fair to laymen at grassroots level is not only a challenging endeavor but also a great experience.
In accordance with the UKs Street Law program, some schools include mediation assistance as one of their activities through the Mediation Friends Project. This is a groundbreaking initiative where students are trained in mediation so that they can offer free support to otherwise unrepresented parties in mediation. The objective of the projects is to provide assistance to the unrepresented parties and to promote the use of mediation as a form of alternative dispute settlement.
This commitment is probably one of the most important aspects of legal advocacy that must make its solid public awareness awareness, especially with the birth of the Woolf reforms that revolutionized the civil justice system in England and Wales. These reforms pave the way for the promotion of alternative dispute resolution that includes mediation as one of its primary actions.
Mediation, as an alternative dispute settlement system, is the legal system in its most practical application. It gives the law directly into the heart of society and by doing so introduces a new image that is often invisible to the public. By providing space for the people to resolve their disputes, mediation has turned the viewer into a true participant in justice administration and in order to satisfy their purposes, it becomes necessary with the help of the learned.
Unfortunately, the law with its great complexity is considered by many as a penalty error mechanism that benefits the rich and the powerful more than the ignorant and they disadvantaged. Often people tend to avoid litigation because of the financial burden and too much time required by the process, even if it involves sacrificing their own rights and interests. It is for this reason that the court encourages alternative dispute resolution (ADR) under the legislative mandate laid down in civil law. Although it does not include extensive knowledge of the law, the disputed parties still have the right to adequate advice and guidance to protect their rights. Authorization and other forms of ADR never guarantee fair settlement if a party is not aware of his options and the legal scope of his claim. An abusive party can easily lean the process to his advantage, leaving no legal and informative support to the other, especially with a corporate president.
Unrepresented parties are equated with a single litigant seen by the judges as a problem. According to the Court of Justice's magazine edition 15 published in 2002, lawyers often personally jeopardize their own rights due to lack of knowledge of procedures and remedies available in their case. They can make a point, like allowing people to feel right, but who do not have any constitution.
With the help of increased assistance to the unrepresented, volunteer mediators have the level of playfields and thereby ensure fair settlements among parties to the dispute. Consequently, they have also contributed to the much needed congestion of court dockets, thereby allowing the courts to participate in more pressing matters that are not otherwise subject to settlement or such other cases are no longer covered by the ADR. As lawyers in the future, lawyers are not strangers to the idea that handling cases is not exclusively in the hands of the judges. Lawyers are indispensable players throughout the legal drama. It becomes an integral part of their role in helping the court promote justice in a less charged and cheaper way. As such, civilian rules of procedure invite the court and of course its officials to encourage the use of alternative dispute resolution.
Mediation covers almost all parts of daily human activities, including personal, commercial and business relations between community members. Failure to fulfill its goal not only involves economic damage, it also leads to community dysfunction. Company against its customers, employers against their employees, family members who do not look eye-to-eye. All because of disputes that can be resolved in a way that is less contradictory and more akin to human philosophy as a social essence. Not only do volunteers contribute to justice delivering justice, but they also share in the struggle to save society from the economic, financial and sociological tribes of unpredictable trials.