Court-annexed mediation is the submission by parties to the mediation of a dispute, prior to the commencement of litigation or where litigation has commenced but judgment has not yet been obtained.
The purpose of mediation is to:
• Promote access to justice;
• Promote restorative justice;
• Preserve relationships between litigants or parties to a dispute;
• Facilitate expeditious and cost-effective resolution;
• Assist litigants to determine at an early stage whether a trial or an opposed application is in their interests;
• Provide solutions to a dispute which is beyond the scope and powers of a judicial officer.
Most disputes are appropriate for mediation, as long as the court has jurisdiction in respect of the matter. Examples are contractual claims; motor vehicle collision and other damages claims; neighbourhood disputes and family disputes.
Especially, there are no court fees, but the mediator is entitled to charge a fee according to a fixed tariff. The parties contribute equally to this fee, which must be paid before the mediation commences. The mediator will be a person that the parties choose, with the help of the mediation clerk, from a panel of accredited mediators appointed by the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services. All mediators have undergone mediation training. Some specialise in particular types of matters, such as family disputes. The clerk will advise you as to which of the mediators is appropriate for your dispute, depending on factors such as area of practice and experience.
Moreover, if the parties reach agreement the mediator will assist them to draft a settlement agreement. The settlement agreement is enforceable in law as a contract. It can be given additional strength by having it made an order of court, if the parties agree to this. If the parties are unable to settle their dispute through mediation then they may still resort to litigation and adjudication.
In conclusion, the Court – Annexed mediation will be a challenge worth undertaking. If such a system can provide a compassionate assistance to the litigants for negotiated settlements, the parties will go home with greater satisfaction, and lesser time spent for resolution of their disputes more amicably, will gradually bring their willing participation in the process. The parties will become partners in the solutions rather than partners in problems. The court annexed mediation is expected to solve problem of delay in civil and commercial litigation and thereby contribute towards economic, commercial and financial growth and development in the country while providing satisfaction to the litigants.
8th Asian Pacific Mediation Forum
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