As followers of the blog know, one of the high points of our trip to Israel was dinner with Justice Aharon Barak and his wife Judge Elika Barak. We were also joined by their daughter, Tamar, who is a mediator. Interestingly from the dispute resolution perspective, Justice Barak was the judge who brought mediation to Israel through the Supreme Court, permitting cases to be referred to mediation. In this post, student Olga Kordonskaya reflects on the evening:
The Baraks were open and willing to discuss various topics, including dispute resolution and their professions. Justice Barak spoke about criticisms made of him and discussed them in various contexts to help us understand what role he saw for himself in the judiciary. Justice Barak, brought mediation to Israel and shared his opinions on mediation, its role in Israel and as a vehicle of dispute resolution. Judge Barak, with a different perspective as a labor judge, discussed the role of mediation in the labor courts, as well as her experience as a judge there, the challenges that the labor courts face. Their daughter talked about the challenges of being a full time mediator in a country where most mediators hold other jobs because there is not enough work, about her approach to mediation and value of different approaches. In this conversation we have had a chance to learn about dispute resolution, to better understand the court structure and the challenges that structure is posing, as well as potential solutions. We also considered what it means to bring a constitutional question in a country with no formal constitution. It was a pleasure being a guest in their home and having a chance to speak with people whose perspective on dispute resolution in general and alternative dispute resolution specifically comes from varies backgrounds. Additionally, it was humbling to have such access to a family that is so essential to the country’s dispute reolution development.
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