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Mediation solves more conflicts than courts in Guatemala

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Mediation solves more conflicts than courts in Guatemala

Courts in Guatemala have heard more than 800,000 cases over the past five years but only 7.6 percent of them have been resolved, according to a report by the Association for Research and Social Studies in Guatemala.

The report determined that the average trial takes 449 days to resolve and costs approximately 300,000 quetzals ($38,400).

The Association says that there is an institutional weakness in the country’s judiciary branch and that citizens should consider other options, specifically mediation, before filing lawsuits.

In the same five-year span that the courts ruled on 7.6 percent of their cases, Guatemala’s 79 mediation centers worked on more than 86,000 cases – almost half of which ended in agreement after about three hours.

“It’s essential to study the option of mediation not only as an alternative method of conflict resolution but also as a tool for citizens to feel like they [should go to court],” said Adolfo Alarcón from the association.

Alarcón argues that unlike the success rate of other alternative methods, the success rate of mediation is determined by how the mediator addresses the conflict, the techniques used and the ability to establish a connection with the opposing party.

Mediation focuses more on the people involved than the case itself and is a healthy, efficient alternative to bringing certain disputes to court, Alarcón said.

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