In order to ensure that Bhutan’s centuries-old traditional dispute resolution practices continue to flourish and adapt as Bhutan develops and modernizes, the ADRC trains lawyers and policy makers to analyze conflict and utilize a broad variety of both formal, informal, and traditional dispute resolution strategies to manage those disputes.
ADRC Mission: Pedagogical Impact
JSW Law’s ADRC teaching mission is to train JSW Law students to understand, interact with, and ultimately come to appreciate, dispute resolution practices—both old and new. ADRC students learn to design innovative and context-appropriate dispute resolution procedures drawing on the best of Bhutanese and international best practices. ADRC alumni can think holistically about disputes, and competently craft strategies to manage or resolve those disputes. ADRC students learn to appreciate the importance of various roles in a dispute resolution process, and hone their thinking about legal ethics in the context of non-formal dispute resolution processes. The ADRC uses a variety of interactive teaching methods, simulations, and real-world experiential client work in non-judicial dispute resolution forums to teach students these skills.
ADRC Mission: Social Impact
The ADRC is built around the idea that the establishment of a modern judicial system should not displace Bhutan’s centuries-old dispute resolution traditions. JSW Law works collaboratively with Bhutan’s traditional and local dispute resolution practitioners and the formal institutions that support them to strengthen traditional dispute resolution practices, even amidst significant social, political, and economic change in Bhutan. The ADRC helps community elders build their capacity as trusted dispute resolvers, and works closely with local officials (including in the judiciary) to expand the reach and applicability of informal dispute resolution practices, consistent with traditional Bhutanese norms and principles.
ADRC Mission: Academic Impact
The ADRC is a core part of JSW Law’s strategy to promote Bhutan as a global center of dispute resolution excellence, be it in the field of commercial dispute resolution, international track-two dispute management, or the many domestic uses of creative and culturally appropriate conflict management and dispute systems design. Bhutan’s history and heritage give it a rich gift: whereas the rest of the world “discovered” traditional dispute resolution practices in or around the 1960s (baptizing them as “alternative” dispute resolution practices), Bhutan did the opposite, opening its doors to a formal judicial system only around the same time. The ADRC draws on the accumulated wisdom to shed light on practical, innovative, and effective ways to handle conflict ethically, at much lower financial and psychological cost than formal adversarial judicial procedures.
During their first semester of clinic, students in the ADRC help resolve disputes minor civil disputes as part of the Judiciary’s court annexed mediation programme. As mediators, students will hone their dispute resolution skills—working with parties to help them craft realistic, sustainable and creative resolutions to their disagreements. During their second semester, student will take a more systemic approach to dispute resolution, helping communities or community leaders think through systemic dispute resolution challenges (for example a complex land dispute).
To contact the ADRC, or to explore a potential partnership with the ADRC involving JSW Law’s clinical students and faculty, please contact the ADRC’s Director, Mr. << Stephan Sonnenberg >>.