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The role of ombudsman in ADR and its impact on sovereign government - Coursework Example

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The commonly held notion of Ombudsmen is that of a person who, outside the usual legal framework, acts on behalf of individuals or groups with little or no access to legal or administrative recourse…
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The role of ombudsman in ADR and its impact on sovereign government
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Download file to see previous pages While usually asked by one party or the other to become involved, the ombudsman may take the initiative without being requested to do so. While formal definition of the role is not legally universally accepted, the description of the role is generally as stated and practiced within the limits and specifications of various legal systems and constitutions. Functioning on local, national and international level, the role of ombudsman is the purest and most effective form of alternative dispute resolution between individuals and more powerful entities. The Ombudsman: Concept and Mechanisms for ADR The role of Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) in resolving the grievances of private citizens has expanded over the years to achieve a status even among attorneys as a valid legal and useful practice. Rather than merely an alternative to costly litigation, it has resurrected ‘traditional notions’ about the use of negotiation and out of court settlement.1 Over the past two decades ADR has evolved into a complex arena for settling disputes, encouraged by the rise in popularity and acceptance of the ombudsman as prime impartial negotiator. With the increased use of ombudsmen, officials in this role can be found at all levels of government, as well as in settings of private industry and academia. Modeled on a long established Swedish precedent, the concept took hold in Europe the 1960s along with a growing ‘power to the people’ movement seeking redress for the average person against the powerful forces of government and industry in dispute situations. Ombudsman were to assist in achieving fairness by means of independence, unfettered access to records and persons, careful investigation, impartiality and the prestige of the office. Ombudsman today can be found in almost any official capacity where parties involved in disputes are in need of an impartial negotiator. Differences in the operational aspect among these negotiating agents often depend upon where he or she is expected to function, but always within the clearly defined parameters of impartiality and/or political neutrality. In the private corporate environment, the ombudsman may not only resolve differences between workers and employers, but often affect better conditions in the workplace that discourage extreme acts by the offended party or parties as a means to resolution. Mechanisms employed in these circumstances may prove simple or complex, depending upon the nature of the grievances or dispute, as well as the commitment and attitudes of the parties at odds. The goal, however, is always the same: a fair resolution to a conflict of interests that satisfies and is fair to both parties achieved in a non-litigious setting. In the public arena--as in disputes with government and public agencies—the ombudsman also functions as a bureaucratic monitoring mechanism. Basically, the activity in the public realm may be viewed as threefold: as stopgap measure to holding administrators accountable for treatment of citizens; as righting wrongs done to citizens, and as a tool to dissuade citizens from becoming alienated from the tangled government bureaucracy, rendering it, or seemingly so, more human and personal. As watchdogs, ombudsman look for potential government abuses, and at times, as is fair and appropriate to their role as impartial mediators, they can also vindicate officials unjustly charged in a grievance with wrongdoing.2 The position then is a hedge against what many citizens see as an all powerful bureaucratic ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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