Another round the world trip in the mediation sphere this week.
Starting with training in Kingston where twenty four JPs have completed what has become the standardised 40 hours training in mediation.
The course was run by the director of the Knowledge Management Institute of the Dispute Resolution Foundation Karen Gentles, (DRF), and set out the core values at the heart of mediation and the methods used to reduce conflict and reach resolution.
She said "Mediation is a critical element in dispute resolution and it requires persons to remain neutral, in spite of the circumstances that are discussed…Mediation is highly confidential and the discussions and notes made at no point in time will be available in the public domain,"
Gentles’ colleague Kevel Campbell, helped guide the JPs through their training and reinforced the value that mediators can bring in any court process.
The training covered both the skills needed in mediation the background Jamaican law and conflict management techniques.
The students will continue in training having observed sessions before conducting their own supervised mediations after which time they will be given their accreditation.
President of the Lay Magistrates Association of Jamaica Kingston Chapter Mark Gonzales, said "I commend the organisers and the participating justices of the peace and remind fellow justices that they will now be held more accountable and will be required to submit a written report to the custos at the end of each calendar year. This is a requirement under the newly amended Justice of the Peace Act,"
A little closer to home on Jersey 21 new mediators have become accredited members of the profession.
Well done to Harry McRandle, Bronwyn Gomez, Ross Symes, Alison de Bourcier, , George Butler, Anne King, Johanna Dentskevich, , Dominic Hind, Andrea Jimenez, Jennifer Bridge, Stephanie Knight, James Lambert, Jonathan Channing, , Galena Lieu, , Douglas Melville, Louise Reid, Heather Rushton, Robert Simony, Richard Langlois, Sophie Watkins and Charlotte Valeur
They will, like the JPs in Kingston, have learnt how to help parties resolve disputes from the workplace and commercial arguments to family and inheritance.
The students included professionals from the financial services (including the Ombudsman), the Consumer Council, Trading Standards and competition regulators as well as voluntary workers.
Craig Cathcart, course leader and senior lecturer in dispute resolution at Queen Margaret University has played a key role in promoting mediation training and accreditation on the Channel Islands.
Claire de Than, director of studies at the Institute of Law Jersey said “I am delighted to acknowledge the hard work of the students and the professionals involved in devising the course”.
Clair Cousins, the Resolution Centre's managing partner said “This was a concept we conceived about 18 months ago and to see it come to fruition was immensely satisfying”,
Over in Fiji the effective use of mediation has been recognized by the Ministry for Employment, Productivity and Employment Relations have been effective.
Jone Usamate the Minister for Employment responded to MP Howard Politini’s question in Fiji’s Parliament saying the services had shown a positive effect in addressing employee issues in grievances brought independently or via Trade Unions.
New legislation allowed everyone to bring their dispute to the Ministry of Employment for mediation, irrespective of union membership.
Apparently 87% of employment disputes were concluded successfully, including 64% of what Fiji law refers to as “disadvantaged cases” (discrimination) and 87% of unfair dismissal cases were mediated successfully.
Usamate said “The ministry’s philosophy is that those who create the conflict should be held primarily responsible to resolve the conflict”
Over in Georgia USA the Paulding County Airport Authority has entered into mediation to resolve the dispute over a second commercial runway.
Lawyers for the airport developer, Silver Comet, City of Atlanta, DOJ, FAA and the airport authority itself will all be engaged in the process.
Residents are reluctant to have the airport commercialised, one of whom, Sue Wilkins said “I remain positive and hopeful that a satisfactory solution can be reached for everyone involved”
Staying in the Southern states of the US in big mediation money news in Alabama Montgomery Public Schools received a payment of $1.4 million rectifying an error by the state education department from 2016, all as a result of mediation.
Ann Roy Moore Interim Superintendent (who had the pleasure of paying in the cheque) said "I think it's a wonderful thing that MPS received this check…The refund is an amount that should have been received earlier. The funds have already been deposited. These funds will be used for the benefit of Montgomery's students."
In a release form the Alabam Education Authority Director Theron Stokes said "It was AEA, and AEA alone, that secured this victory for Montgomery's children"
Finally back to training but this time in Rwanda where Chief justice Professor Sam Rugege is promoting mediation in a system where the process has been underutilised (I could at this point draw comparisons with the Pilot Scheme at Manchester County Court but perhaps we’ll come back to that in another blog)
At the launch of commercial training for 30 students including judiciary, lawyers, bankers and insurers Rugege said “We have been trying mediation in the last five years, but litigants and lawyers have in many cases underutilised it probably because judges, lawyers and registrars did not have adequate skills in modern mediation,”
He added that it was not time that judiciary expedited cases to mediation to provide a further incentive to settlement rather than litigation.
The president of the Commercial High Court Emmanuel Kamere pointed out the business case for mediation saying “Our clients are business entities who certainly need each other outside the court for business affairs and mediation is the first way to keep them together after a dispute”
Mediation is also intended to reduce the strain on the court system, according to judicial spokesperson Harrison Mutabazi.
The course trainer Bruce Edwards said there was a history of mediation “The fact that Rwandans lifted themselves from the atrocities of the 1994 genocide, they can easily mediate commercial cases compared to other countries where I’ve been”
Mediation in any country is cheaper, quicker and less stressful than running any case to court, it can help with any dispute whether it's an employment issue or the sale at an under value of a property, a fight with a neighbour, family issues, commercial disputes or inheritance arguments contact Northwest Mediation on 07931318347 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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