JIS News

Chief Justice Zaila McCalla is applauding the work of mediators and urging them and other key stakeholders, to continue to be vanguards in the administration of justice.
“I applaud the dedicated efforts of all the stakeholders including the Ministry of Justice, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF), and you, the mediators. So as we look forward to what promises to be another active term, I would encourage you, as mediators, to continue to be the vanguard of this revolutionary development in the administration of justice in our courts,” the Chief Justice emphasised.
She was addressing the Michaelmas Meeting of Supreme Court Civil Mediators yesterday (September 9), at the Training Room of Jamaica Trade and Invest in Kingston.
The Chief Justice explained that mediation has had a positive impact on the court system, especially as it relates to the backlog of cases.
“As the legal vacation draws to a close and the commencement of the Michaelmas term begins, I welcome this opportunity to be a part of this meeting of Supreme Court mediators.The positive impact that mediation has had in addressing the backlog of cases in the Civil Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, cannot be overemphasised,” she noted, informing that the number of backlog cases has decreased.
“Although we still have quite a large backlog of cases, we have indeed seen a reduction in the number of civil cases that actually proceed to trial; and this is as a direct result of the mediation component of our civil procedure,” Chief Justice McCalla pointed out.
Continuing, she stated that “this achievement is commendable, because convincing Attorneys-at-law and clients alike, that mediation could be used as a practical and viable court approved method of settling or reducing certain cases, was an uphill battle in the initial stages of integration, because they felt that their cause could only be vindicated in a court of law”.
Additionally, Chief Justice McCalla explained that despite the initial resistance to mediation in the court system, the vision has now been realised.
“Notwithstanding the staunch resistance of many, the vision has happily become a reality, and mediation is now fully integrated in all court systems, as an effective dispute resolving process. Clients are now benefitting from reduced litigation costs and more timely case disposals,” she pointed out.
In the meantime, she is cautioning mediators to remember that their services do not end when the disputes are resolved.
“It is important for you to remember that the service that you render does not terminate when the respective disputes are settled. Hopefully, the parties themselves, in their sessions with you, would have learnt that there is no dispute that cannot be resolved. A solution can be found to virtually every problem, once the parties are willing to listen to each other and recognise that, sometimes, a compromise is the best solution,” she emphasised.
According to the Chief Justice, “the result of mediated cases can be more lasting and satisfying, than going through a trial that is sometimes lengthy and acrimonious”. She added that every litigant or potential litigant, must be made aware of the mediation process.
“You, as mediators, have a vital role to play in the administration of justice in our country, and I wish you all success and God’s guidance and direction, as you seek to execute your duties in this vital area in the administration of justice,” she said.
The mediators are a multi-disciplinary group, including engineers, bankers, entrepreneurs, lawyers, and retired judicial officers, who have all completed rigorous training and certification, to carry out their role. They have been approved to provide services in the Supreme Court of Jamaica under Part 74 of the Civil Procedure Rules.