By anguillian May 29, 2017 10:45 Updated




Twenty-five persons in Anguilla were trained as Court-Connected Mediators, this week, to assist in resolving disputes among families and various individuals by identifying issues, exploring options and clarifying situations outside of a court environment.
The trainees included Social Workers, Community Leaders, Lawyers and representatives from the Police, Labour and Immigration Departments.
Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Judge, Justice Darshan Ramdhani, said it was thirteen years ago since mediation was introduced in the justice system. He explained that the court had a duty to actively encourage and assist parties to settle their cases on terms that are fair to each side, as well as encourage the parties to use any appropriate form of dispute resolution, particularly mediation, if the court considers it appropriate.

He went on: “The concept of mediation has become a part of the dispute resolution process…It was primarily introduced in our justice system to address delays and costs associated with the traditional resolution of cases. It continues to play this role, but court connected mediation has grown in its own right, benefitting from stakeholders’ interest and growing public appreciation for the process. During this week, apart from skills training, we will all be reminded about the benefits of mediation – not only for the system, but for those litigants who have come for solutions to their disputes. Very often, members of the public come to the court apprehensive – concerned about delays and fairness in seeking their desired outcomes.
“Invariably, they are cognisant that in traditional court disputes, one party will walk away a winner and the other a loser. Mediation allows everyone to be a winner. Properly done mediation allows each of the parties to walk away and consider him or herself a winner. Mediation therefore invariably leads overall to more satisfaction in results as litigants are allowed to own the outcomes. They are the ones who agreed to it. The benefits of mediation rebound and this is why the court has embraced this method of dispute resolution.”
Attorney General, John McKendrick QC, said in part: “One of the great things about mediation is that those who are involved in a conflict have the ability to collaborate and to take ownership of the process of dispute resolution. This makes mediation a very popular way forward. Those of you who have been involved in litigation will know it is difficult to take to the witness stand and be cross-examined. It is an adversarial system…”
Noting that some aspects of the mediation training had to do with conflicts involving parents and children, the Attorney General stated: “Young people can take the stand and give evidence against their own parents. Imagine a 14-year-old boy being cross-examined by the lawyer for your father and being told that you are a liar. That does nothing for the healing process in divided and difficult families. Adversarial litigation is not a healing process.”
Mr. McKendrick added: “My experience as a Barrister practicing in England and Wales, over the last ten years, showed that mediation has been heavily invested in and is incredibly popular particularly in the context of family difficulties. It takes a lot of the difficulties, tensions and conflicts out of litigation… Family specific mediation is a fantastic additional dispute resolution mechanism available to us.”
Minister of Health and Social Development, Evans McNiel Rogers, said the court-mediated training was only one of the many aspects of social protection the Ministry had been working on in the short and medium term. He listed a number of legislative procedures that had already been undertaken as part of the process aimed at child and family protection. “It is our hope that the training in mediation will provide a cadre of individuals who are ready to provide their services and voices under the large umbrella of national social protection, to the people of Anguilla – at all levels – and to continue to build a better nation,” he stated.
The week-long certified course in Court-Connected Mediation Training was sponsored by UNICEF in collaboration with the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and the Ministry of Social Development. The facilitators were Professor Ann Diaz of the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus in Trinidad; Mr. Francis Compton and Mr. Francis Letang, officers of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.

The opening ceremony was chaired by Mr. Foster Rogers, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Development.

By anguillian May 29, 2017 10:45 Updated


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