Shanghai's first mediation workshop fully staffed by lawyers opens

The first mediation workshop that is fully staffed by lawyers was launched yesterday in Shanghai to help resolve disputes in a professional, efficient and economical manner. 

The first mediation workshop that is fully staffed by lawyers was launched yesterday in Shanghai to help resolve disputes in a professional, efficient and economical manner. 

The workshop, located at the Shanghai office of the Yingke Law Firm, will service the firm's cases and those referred by the People’s Court of Jing’an District.

Shanghai has other mediation organizations that have mediators with various professional expertise. 

The new mediation workshop was established after public demand for the Supreme People's Court and the Ministry of Justice to do so. On October 16, the two government institutions launched a pilot program to encourage law firms to set up mediation workshops and provide mediation services. 

“Lawyers are more professional in legal affairs than other mediators,” said Ding Dehong, vice president of the People’s Court of Jing’an District. “Their mediation service is expected to be more convincing and efficient.”

Most mediation cases could be completed within 30 days, while mediation of complicated cases could be extended by up to 15 days, said Li Judong, director of Yingke Law Firm's Shanghai office.

The firm, which has about 600 lawyers in Shanghai, will select 40 experienced lawyers — especially those who had worked in procuratorates and courts — for its first batch of mediators. The firm will also provide video and audio recording facilities for mediation sessions that require them. 

Most mediation services in the city are sponsored by the government, and are free or highly affordable for citizens, but the mediation workshop will charge its clients a fee, according to Li, adding that the cost has yet to be decided.

Ding said mediation service would help to ease the burden of the court and the opposing parties in such cases because lawsuits are more complicated, expensive and time-consuming. 

The agreements reached at mediation sessions are legally enforceable after they have been sanctioned by a court. 

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