Mediation a vital tool: Judge


IT is imperative for collaboration and a cooperative function between the formal courts and mediation and other forms of Alternative Disputes Resolutions (ADR) to better justice delivery, Justice Ambeng Kandakasi says.
Speaking at a Pacific Judicial Conference in Port Moresby last Thursday, Kandakasi said mediation and other forms of ADR were “very useful tools” that could produce outcomes.
Kandakasi said these outcomes could speak well of the judicial system provided it is properly developed and applied correctly as part of its case-flow management system (CFMS), with good and strong judicial leadership.
He said there was enough experience and knowledge among judges present at the conference to draw from to make better use of mediation and other forms of ADR.
“This will in turn enable the courts to discharge their broader role of promoting peace and nation-building in addition to staying on top of their case lists,” Kandakasi said.
“A failure to appreciate the goodness of mediation and other forms of ADR, either by inadvertence or by deliberate choice, and failing to make maximum use of it is a choice to remain with the problems of backlog and its related consequences.”
Kandakasi said one of the most important features in the use of mediation and ADR was the requirement for impartiality. “Impartiality is required as a matter of necessity and as an integral part of both processes,” he said.
“Another important feature includes the requirement for fairness. That element is an inseparable twin to the principle of impartiality. Both the court and mediation and ADR processes endeavour to be fair to all parties.”
Kandakasi, in his presentation to the conference, made a number of suggestions on how the judges or courts could make more meaningful use of mediation or a form of ADR.
His suggestion, among others, was for the courts to critically consider and make an important decision.
“That decision should be for a resolution of all matters on their pending and future lists by mediation or a form of ADR at the first instance if the parties fail to settle their dispute through their direct negotiations within certain specified time frames,” Kandakasi said.

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