Mediation in Bangladesh Makes Justice Accessible

Mediation as an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process is growing rapidly in Bangladesh. It is cost-effective and less time-consuming than court litigations. The confidentiality of mediation and the fact that the affected parties decide the outcome without relying on a judge to impose a decision, make it an attractive option.

However, it is still not utilized widely by the masses and as such they continue to suffer under the complex, court-based litigation process.

Problems in the Formal Justice System

Bangladesh’s legal system is burdened by large backlogs which effectively deny citizens the right of redress. Parties become part of a protracted and torturous process, with no end in sight. The delay and inefficiency most prominently affect the poor, who are also hampered by the expense of the dispute resolution process. Money often matters more than merit, making cost concerns crucial. Most of the Bangladeshi people cannot even afford to reach the doors of the courts and derive any benefits of their services.

The cost of litigation is further increased by the cost of bribes. In Bangladesh, most parties (63 percent) have no option but to bribe court officials to accelerate the disposal of their cases. When the resolution of these cases is delayed, total charges paid to the lawyers increase with consecutive court appearances. The delays themselves are caused partly by a lack of judges. According to The Daily Star, as of 2017 1,268 judges in the lower courts had a backlog of  2.7 million cases, six Appellate Division judges  over 13,000 cases, and 86 High Court judges were backlogged with 431,000 cases.

The inaccessibility of formal justice