WHAT IS MEDIATION?
The magistrates’ courts are currently over-flowing with cases. Various disputes are brought before the courts on a daily basis. Attempts to get a trial date or a date on the roll can leave you waiting months before your matter is heard. In light of the above, the legislature has looked into ways in which we can reduce the amount of cases that go to trial, in essence, alternative dispute resolution. In December 2014, ch 2 of the magistrates’ courts rules came into operation providing an alternative to formal litigation, namely voluntary mediation in selected magistrates’ courts.
Mediation is the process whereby a third party, namely a mediator, assists the parties in identifying issues, clarifying priorities, exploring areas of compromise and generating options in an attempt to resolve the dispute. This mediation process applies to parties in both actual and potential litigation. The main objectives of this mediation process is to facilitate discussions between the parties and to preserve the relationships between the parties that may become strained or destroyed through the adversarial nature of litigation.
- By Caitlyn Askew as first published in de Rebus 2016.