Enhancing mediation in legal aid and dispute settlement offices

Dec 15, 2014

Legal aid and dispute settlement offices open and operational, to help citizens settle family conflicts. UNDP/Jose Sanchez

The Egyptian Ministry of Justice, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the National Center for Judicial Studies, and the French Cultural Center in Egypt, organized a workshop from 8 to 10 December 2014 for 27 legal aid and dispute settlement offices employees.

The purpose of the workshop was to strengthen participants’ knowledge of the French legal framework for family mediation and introduce practical tools for mediation based on international best practices and relevance to local family courts.

This activity was organized within the framework of the second phase of the project titled “Support to Legal Aid and Dispute Settlement in Family Courts”, a joint project between the Ministry of Justice and UNDP, designed to introduce legal aid offices in family courts as well as to strengthen the mediation function of the dispute settlement offices.

The first phase of the project (2008-2013) resulted in the establishment of 10 legal aid offices and 17 front offices in family courts in 17 Governorates, in addition to capacity building of existing and newly recruited staff in the dispute settlement offices. Furthermore, the second phase of the project, with the support of the Government of Sweden, focuses on strengthening operational efficiency in family courts and family prosecution. It contributes to setting up the infrastructure for the automation of family courts all over Egypt and will start by linking three family courts namely: Heliopolis, Luxor and Aswan, and at the same time with Nasser bank to facilitate women’s access to their alimony.

Five additional legal aid offices will be established and operational in Nasr City, Fayoum, Luxor, Aswan, and Sohag by the end of 2014, granting citizens means to settle family conflicts and particularly poor women, whose needs are highest.

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