Students will serve as mediators in civil disputes, referred either by the district court or directly from the community.Such cases must first be assessed to see whether they are eligible for negotiated settlement under relevant legal provisions.
Students also work on larger scale dispute systems design projects. Representative past and ongoing projects are described below.
RENEW Consensus Building Initiative
JSW Law’s first clinical project was a joint effort involving the ADRC and the Human Dignity Clinic to develop a new way to resolve certain types of domestic violence cases. RENEW, a civil society organization, approached clinical faculty to participate in a multi-stakeholder discussion about how to train its Community Based Support Services (“CBSS”) volunteers in mediation.
At RENEW’s, the Clinic proposed three potential models whereby RENEW’s CBSS volunteers might nonetheless respond to the strong demand among domestic violence survivors for informal dispute resolution options. RENEW and the other stakeholders gravitated towards one of those options – the consensus building model – and asked JSW Law to develop the model whereby RENEW’s CBSS volunteers would serve as “gender-informed” problem solvers, liaising directly with the RBP, local government officials, and other relevant stakeholders in the community to develop binding agreements on how to resolve a dispute. RENEW’s CBSS volunteers would be authorized to act only for certain types of cases and only with the express go-ahead from a counterpart at the Royal Bhutan Police. The volunteers also would not be authorized to draft any agreements, but would be required to refer drafting to a qualified official or Jabmi.
RENEW then asked the Clinic to lay the groundwork for a nationwide roll-out of what was then dubbed the “Consensus Building Initiative.” This involved conducting more than three weeks of directed workshops and training for the various stakeholder organizations, drafting and helping negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding between RENEW and the RBP, and drafting a comprehensive Facilitators Manual for RENEW staff.
The Clinic successfully handed off this project to RENEW in May of 2019. At the time of publication, the project has already generated interest internationally, and was featured prominently as a notable “better practice” in a High Level Group report published in March 2019 by UN Women, IDLO, the World Bank, and the Task Force on Justice, available at: https://www.idlo.int/publications/justice-women-high-level-group-report).