In February 2015, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development introduced court-annexed mediation in Mahikeng in the North West Province. Court-annexed mediation has also been introduced in Gauteng as part of a pilot phase of a programme that will see court-annexed mediation made available across South Africa.
Currently, the focus of the programme is mainly on civil and family disputes, but over time the plan is to also introduce mediation and alternative dispute resolutions for criminal cases.
In a statement released by the DOJ, the department explains that the decision to introduce mediation is part of a number of reforms aimed at improving the justice system.
The mediation service provides an alternative dispute resolution mechanism which allows for a negotiated settlement between involved parties and alleviates the huge litigation costs. When there is a dispute between parties, a mediator will facilitate discussions between them, assist in identifying issues and explore areas of compromise at a cheaper and fixed tariff.
To read further on the court-annexed mediation in the Gauteng and North West Provinces the DOJ have made available reading material on their website. Click here to visit the mediation page.
The DOJ has also made available a list of persons currently accredited as mediators in terms of rule 86 (2) of the Court‐Annexed Mediation Rules. This list can be found here
Mediation in Family & Divorce Disputes by John O’Leary
Mediation in Family & Divorce Disputes is intended as a handbook for mediators and clients who are involved with family and divorce disputes. It distills 20 years’ of priceless experience into a succinct and lucid handbook that will be invaluable to attorneys, mediators, social workers, pastors, psychologists and parties to disputes, helping clients to decide whether they would like to try to resolve their dispute through mediation and professionals to reflect on the fundamental principles and practical applications of their work.