People are opting to employ alternative avenues of justice such as the Gacacafor used following the Rwandan Genocide. In Haiti, there is the Chamber of Conciliation and Arbitration of Haiti.
In Dallas, Texas, The Islamic Tribunal aims to resolve conflicts and disputes according to the principles of Islamic Law in a manner that is reasonable and cost effective, taking on serious family problems, divorces, and business disputes among some of the cases. Options such as this are rare in the United States, but they are growing in access. The Tribunal seeks to support and guidance from consultants and counselors to its attorneys to ensure that local, state and federal law are strictly conformed to, and decisions that originate from the Tribunal are by said laws. IT offers free legal consultations.
And similar alternatives are available and have been for a long time, for other faith-based dispute resolutions such as Christian mediation.
The following links are taken from CLS.net lead to the Institute for Christian Conciliation (ICC), a division of Peacemaker® Ministries, to explain Christian conciliation and court-tested conciliation clauses in more detail:
- Introduction/FAQ’s for Christian Conciliation (from the Guidelines for Christian Conciliation)
- Christian Conciliation: An Alternative to Ordinary ADR – A law review article written by Glenn Waddell and Judith Keegan
- Preventative Law within the Faith Community – Article by David V. Edling and Lynn Pace
Questions arise concerning the legality of these methods, and whether an impartial application of justice is being applied. Are women being treated subjectively, as is usually assumed of religious teachings? Would children be submitted to reasoning of parents? What about cases of rape, incest, or child molestation? Are the perpetrators and victims receiving justice? Can criminal charges legally be addressed in these alternative methods?
Answers to these questions vary but ADR for criminal matters is growing in demand with a majority of programs “identifying themselves as victim-offender mediation programs.”
Carryn Wolfe in her article for Fordham Law Review shares the following:
It is undeniable that ADR is often faster and cheaper than litigation. Congress in 1925 passed the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), establishing that a written agreement of arbitration “shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract.” Then the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws drafted the Uniform Arbitration Act (UAA) in 1955, and the Revised Uniform Arbitration Act (RUAA) in 2000 which are currently in place.
Persons may feel obligated to use faith-based alternative dispute resolutions out of conviction. For example, according to “halakhah”, followers of Judaism may hold that they are not allowed to turn to secular courts. The decision to not use secular courts is also found in Christian and Islamic faith. Turning to religious ADR may lead to the preservation of minority cultures and community values but could come at the cost of what modern society has come to understand as justice. This begs the question of whether justice is to be sought for the victim or for the victim and society at large.
Caryn Litt Wolfe, Faith-Based Arbitration: Friend or Foe? An Evaluation of Religious Arbitration Systems and Their Interaction with Secular Courts, 75 Fordham L. Rev. 427 (2006). Available at: http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/flr/vol75/iss1/11