January 18, 2016
The Project for Strengthening the Capacity of Court for Expeditious and Reliable Dispute Settlement (the SCC Project) held the Fourth Japan Seminar in Osaka, Japan from November 30 to December11, 2015. In the seminar, both Nepali and Japanese professionals actively discussed how to enhance the efficiency of Nepal's judicial system.
The SCC Project, collaboratively implemented by the Supreme Court of Nepal and JICA, is conducting several activities in order to improve the case management for expediting court process as well as enhancing the effective practice of court-affiliated mediation. This Fourth Japan Seminar was held to achieve these purposes, for which a delegation of 20 Nepali professionals joined the seminar. The group was led by two Supreme Court Justices and composed of judges, advocates and other legal experts. The International Cooperation Department (ICD) of the Ministry of Justice, Japan, hosted the seminar with dedicated support from prominent law professors, Mr. Takayoshi YOSHINO (Osaka University) and Mr. Kazuto INABA (Chukyo University), who have been in the Advisory Group of the SCC project since September 2013.
In the beginning of the seminar, there were explanations about the case management and mediation system in Japan, which showed partly new ideas and led Nepali participants to many questions on further details of the Japan system. Following those, the Nepali side made three insightful presentations; "Use of Calendar System in Case Management" (by Hon. Judge Tek Narayan Kunwar), "Problem of Case Management and Recommendations" (by Ms. Sunita Regmi Pokharel, Advocate and Mr. Balkrishna Dhakal, Advocate), and "Court Referred Mediation and Mediation Guideline" (by Mr. Nripa Dhwoj Niroula, Joint-Registrar, Supreme Court of Nepal).
For observing the actual practices, the Delegation visited the Osaka District Court (Civil Trial Branch and Mediation Branch) and the the Mediation Center Osaka, where the delegation members exchanged their experiences and opinions with Japanese sitting judges and mediators. Since the overall goal of the SCC project is enhancing the access to justice in Nepal, the delegation also visited the Japan Legal Support Center that covers the legal aid in Japan.
In comparison with the past Japan Seminars, this Fourth Seminar put importance on the time of discussions spent among the participants. In the latter half of the seminar, participants enthusiastically exchanged their opinions on the basis of the presentations and observations. Japanese professors also actively took part in the discussions. Regarding the mediation, participants discussed a guideline for judges, which is being developed by the Supreme Court and the SCC project. Judges are encouraged by the guideline to proactively get involved in mediation, and accordingly participants showed their deep interest in especially how further judges could be involved in the mediation under the current legal framework in Nepal. In terms of the case management, there were also fruitful discussions, such as how the court could manage their schedule more effectively and whether they need to develop a consensus with bar associations or not for such a purpose.
The delegation has already completed the report of the seminar, which contains a lot of specific and detailed proposals that could certainly contribute to the development of the court mediation and case management in Nepal. The SCC project is planning to support the activities that are necessary to realize these proposals.