Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ
North Macedonia

On 23 March 2021, the “Pavel Shatev” Academy of Judges and Public Prosecutors and IRZ organised their first joint online training session on “The stages and types of mediation”. The event was prompted by the upcoming amendments to the mediation law, which represent an important part of judicial reform. The target group was therefore made up of judges, as well as future and current mediators.

After the welcome speeches by Sonja Mojsovska from the Academy and Dr. Stefan Pürner representing IRZ, the following lectures took place:

  • Stevkova Nikolovska (Skopje): An introduction to mediation - present situation and future perspectives
  • Dr. Zoran Vuchev (Skopje): Mediation in labour, family and commercial disputes
  • Ingrid Hönlinger (Ludwigsburg): Mediation in Germany

During the lectures, it became clear that mediation in North Macedonia is not yet given the required level of priority. The amendments to the law along with training courses such as this one should help to achieve this. The common theme throughout all the lectures was that mediation enables the independent resolution of disputes, as well as saving costs.

Unlike in other judicial systems, mediation is permitted for family cases in North Macedonia only in the event of disputes over property, but not when it comes to rights of custody and access. Initiatives to try to change the provisions relating to this have not met with any success so far. From a German point of view, it is clear that the use of mediation for labour disputes is very widespread in North Macedonia and results in a settlement in over 90 percent of cases. During the discussions, it was revealed that the heavy use of mediation in this area is above all down to the high cost risk of settling labour disputes in court in North Macedonia.

IRZ expert Ingrid Hönlinger gave a lecture on the current situation in Germany for mediation, including the legal framework. A lawyer and certified mediator, she also presented the model for the five stages of mediation:

  1. Clarification of tasks
  2. Identification of issues
  3. Positions and interests / exploration of views and background
  4. Collection and assessment of possible solutions
  5. Concluding agreemen
As part of this presentation, she also gave plenty of practical tips on the soft skills required of mediators. The event was well-attended by almost forty participants, including the lawyer Dr. Veronika Horrer, who is Managing Director of the German Federal Bar Association (BRAK) and responsible for cooperation with IRZ, and who wanted to learn about the situation with regards to mediation in North Macedonia.