San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Judicial Branch Inaugurates Conciliation Center

The Judicial Branch inaugurated a new center last month meant to save citizens and the government money and remove some cases from the courts’ too-full plates.

The new Judicial Branch Conciliation center is located among other downtown San José court buildings, in Annex A, formerly the StateUniversity at a Distance (UNED).

People can go there to resolve conflicts without having to hire a lawyer (although they have the right to have one present if they choose) in a range of cases such as family or spousal disputes, property disputes or conflicts with neighbors, explained Judicial Branch lawyer Leonardo Loria.

Specially trained judges at the center “act as mediators between (parties) and guide them in the search of a peaceful solution that satisfies their interests,” according to a statement from the Judicial Branch.

The philosophy behind the center is to “break with the vertical scheme of conflict resolution and allow people to own their own solutions,” explained coordinator Alberto Solano. This “integral” approach also streamlines the judicial process by allowing many problems to be resolved in a single hearing with one judge, bypassing the multiple legal processes now required in many situations, he said.

In addition to the center in San José, two are open in the northwestern Guanacaste town of Santa Cruz and in San Ramón, northwest of San José. The Judicial Branch hopes to open centers in the northcentral town of San Carlos, the Southern Zone canton of Pérez Zeledón and the Caribbean-slope town of Turrialba next year and to continue expanding these centers to other areas of the country.

Those who’d like more information about the ConciliationCenter can call 295-3413, 295-4929, 295-4735 or 295-4736.


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