Center for Dispute and Conflict Resolution

Projects and research

From September 2014 to April 2016 the foundation Center for Dispute and Conflict together with its partner, namely the Center for Social Communication of the Capital City of Warsaw carried out the project “Supporting civil dialogue in conditions of local conflict”. The activities were financed from the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area (the so-called EEA Funds) within the Citizens for Democracy program, run by the Stefan Batory Foundation in cooperation with the Polish Children and Youth Foundation.

The aim of the project was to develop, test and disseminate in Poland a model of support for civil dialogue in the local government units with application of the tools of ​​conflict management.

Politicians, local officials and residents sometimes lack the skills and experience for the dialogue about local matters to be fruitful. Differences between people easily turn into disputes. On the other hand, fear of disputes discourages form organizing and participating in the processes of civil participation.

A direct result of the project are successful processes of civil dialogue and real changes in organizational practice in Mokotów, Ursynów and Wawer (districts of Warsaw). Another result is a thoroughly thought already and partly disseminated in Poland idea of ​ engaging local governments in developing institutional capacity and increasing availability of mediators and mediation centers with knowledge on conflict management.

The model describes:

  1. four pillars of cooperation between the organizers of civil dialogue and specialists in the field of conflict management (intrinsic motivation, appreciative attitude, good communication and mediation attitude),
  2. six areas of civil dialogue in which it is worth to prepare for conflicts (diagnosis, team, resources, actions, evaluation, system),
  3. a set of forms and methods of support for the organizers and participants of the dialogue (knowledge sharing, communication support, systemic support).

We believe that a model support of civil dialogue is fostered by:

  1. knowledge of theory and good practices in the field of conflict management and civil dialogue,
  2. development of skills in the supporting and the supported,
  3. sociological diagnosis of the city (town) and its administration,
  4. developed procedure of determining and agreeing on the subject and form of support,
  5. professional support from the host (in our case the project partner, i.e. Social Communication of the Capital City of Warsaw and district coordinators of participation).

The Conference: Ready for Civil Dialogue? Conflict management in local participation, which was held in Warsaw on 12 April 2016 constituted a sum up of the project.

Download more information about the project

The research consisted of examination of court records in commercial matters that were directed to mediation in the years 2013-2015 in the Regional Court in Warsaw.

The research was conducted in the period from July to the end of September 2015. Analysis of case files in three departments of the Commercial Court in Warsaw was aimed at obtaining a profile of cases directed to mediation in recent years.

The sample covered a total of 520 cases, which represents almost 44% of all cases referred to mediation in all the surveyed departments in the period in question.

Analysis of the records shows that in majority of the cases (53%) at least one party did not agree to participate in mediation.

The vast majority of all cases in the sample was directed to mediation before the first court session.

It was most likely to obtain consents of the parties to participate in mediation in cases concerning construction and investment contracts and subsequently claims regarding service contracts and unfair competition.

The presence of legal counsels seems not to affect significantly the outcome of mediation. Although in cases where only the parties attended mediation meetings, the agreement was concluded somewhat more often. It also seems that the moment of directing to mediation at the stage of judicial proceedings (before the first court session or later) does not affect the likelihood of settlement.

Of all the cases in which we have information about the outcome of mediation:

  • settlement was reached in 43% of the cases,
  • the lack of a settlement occurred in 56% of the  cases,
  • in 3 cases the parties reached a settlement out of court, but it was not a formal mediation settlement.

As regards the duration of the mediation, among the cases in which a settlement was concluded, half of them (51%) was completed within 3 months from the date of the issuing of court order. Among the cases in which a settlement was not reached most mediations lasted longer.

The analysis of available court documents also leads to some conclusions of organizational nature. Some of the mediation protocols do not contain all the required information (although it should be added that other reveal too much, violating the principle of confidentiality of mediation). There are also discrepancies in the form of the documents sent to the court (especially in situations where mediation is finally not carried out, some mediators send information while the others send a protocol). 

Center for Dispute and Conflict Resolution at the Faculty of Law and Administration at the University of Warsaw presented a report with the results of statutory research  entitled “Implementation of the Directive of the European Parliament and the Council 2008/52/EC of 21 May 2008 on certain aspects of mediation in civil and commercial matters - in law and practice” carried out by the Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution at the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Warsaw under the leadership of Professor T. Ereciński. The research team was composed of Dr. Ewa Gmurzynska and Dr. Rafał Morek. Members and collaborators of the Center for Dispute and Conflict Resolution participated in carrying out of the research.

The scope of the research conducted in the framework of statutory research included the following specific issues concerning the implementation of the Directive in Poland in comparison with selected EU jurisdictions:

  1. fulfillment of the obligation to inform the public about mediation and its promotion; the availability and form of publicly available information about mediation and mediation organizations in the courts, on websites or by different means (recital 13 and recital 25 of the Directive, Article 9 of the Directive in conjunction with Article 1),
  2. promoting the high quality of mediation (recital 16 and Article 4 of the Directive), including standards introduced by legislators, organizations or mediation centers, scope and duration of training, the criteria for entering on the lists of mediators, ways of monitoring the quality of mediation, professional requirements in particular mediation centers, ethical principles; research in courts – which factors the courts consider while choosing a mediator for a specific case, etc.,
  3. assessment of the implementation of the Directive in Poland - against the background of legal regulations and the state of the practice in some other EU Member States (comparative approach).
Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway - eea grants
Fundacja Batorego
Polska Fundacja Dzieci i Młodzieży

Strona internetowa CRSiK została sfinansowana ze środków projektu: Wspomaganie dialogu obywatelskiego w warunkach konfliktu lokalnego, realizowanego pod numerem E2/1991 w ramach programu Obywatele dla Demokracji, prowadzonego przez Fundację im. Stefana Batorego we współpracy z Polską Fundacją Dzieci i Młodzieży, a finansowanego ze środków Mechanizmu Finansowego Europejskiego Obszaru Gospodarczego (tzw. Funduszy EOG).

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