Chin Malin, secretary of state and spokesman for the Ministry of Justice, announced the forthcoming launch of the National Authority for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), scheduled for late September or early October.

Malin made the announcement on September 20, following the ministry’s sixth Vipassana meditation session led by minister Koeut Rith.

According to the ministry, this two-day meditation took place on September 18-19 at the Royal Academy of Justice and was orchestrated in response to input received during a consultative workshop on a draft royal decree for the ADR.

The purpose of the meditation was to comprehensively review and finalise the decree, ensuring the completeness of the ADR.

“This mechanism is crucial for making justice services more accessible to local communities, minimising complexity, reducing time and financial burdens, and maintaining confidentiality among conflicting parties. It stands apart from the conventional judicial system,” he explained.

Once the authority is operational, it will alleviate the burden and backlog of court cases, he said, adding that this is particularly important as the national judiciary faces limitations in both finances and human resources.

Additionally, the ADR mechanism is expected to foster community harmony, in contrast to the courtroom, where there are clear winners and losers, often leading to further disputes and discord.

Am Sam Ath, deputy director of LICADHO, commended the ADR mechanism, pointing out that it could save citizens time and money in resolving disputes, particularly civil disputes, thus reducing community conflicts stemming from lawsuits.

“This mechanism requires training for officials who will facilitate it. Without trained professionals, there may be consequences down the road,” he said, while suggesting that criminal offences and misdemeanours should continue to be addressed within the courts.

He added that the government should consider monitoring the ADR to ensure justice, transparency and efficiency while minimising corruption.

The ministry organised a consultative workshop on September 14 to gather input regarding the draft royal decree outlining the establishment, organisation and functioning of the ADR.