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June 19, 2017

They are called Casas de Justicia, Casas Comunitarias, Tribunales Multipuertas, Centros Interinstitucionales de Justicia and Multi-Door Courthouses. These names allude to similar experiences from across the region that have been developed to different degrees in different places. The entities bring an array of justice services together in a single space, from information and legal advising to dispute management and resolution and court referrals.

Users can solve commercial disputes involving rentals and debts or inheritances, neighborhood issues such as noise and trash problems and even threats. The centers offer various resolution mechanisms ranging from formal justice (courts) to consensus-based approaches like mediation and conciliation in which the parties to the conflict seek out the most adequate solutions to their needs.

Some of these experiences will be presented together for the first time at the “International Casas de Justicia in Argentina and Latin America Meeting: Consensus-based Methods of Dispute Resolution at the Service of Social Peace.” The seminar is being organized by JSCA and Argentina’s Ministry of Justice and Human Rights.

The activity will take place August 17 beginning at 9 a.m. in Palacio San Martín in Buenos Aires. 

The goal of the meeting is to promote the role of Casas de Justicia at the regional and Argentine level in order to identify critical points and areas that can be strengthened to increase access to justice. The organizers also hope to present and exchange experiences and knowledge in order to create connections and identify common objectives and challenges among these regional experiences.

The seminar is part of the development of the project “Improving Access to Civil Justice in Latin America,” which JSCA is executing with the technical and financial support of Global Affairs Canada (GAC). The project is focused on increasing the access of Latin American men and women to more equitable and efficient justice that respects the rights of those involved with a legal process.

In the growing reform process in the region’s civil justice systems, one of the objectives has been to improve access to justice, modernize it and achieve higher levels of efficiency and trust. In this context, the seminar will present the Argentine and Latin American experiences with this model, focusing on how these dispute resolution methods can be tools that serve the goals of social peace.

The seminar offers an overview of Casas de Justicia in the region along with the presentation of experiences from Argentina and some of its provinces, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Colombia and El Salvador from the perspective of their contribution to social peace by solving conflicts that could escalate to serious situations of violence, for example, early and using diverse channels.

Chile will present the Judicial Branch project Citizen Justice Centers. The design involves a dispute prevention stage (civil, family, labor and community justice not covered by institutional channels) and a transformative stage that seeks the best mechanisms for resolving the dispute, which may include options such as facilitation, mediation, arbitration or judicial process.

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