Chief Justice, Hon Zaila McCalla, has recognised Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as an indispensible tool in the administration of justice.
“ADR is a tool which should be interwoven into every fabric of life in this country, whether in our courts, the workplace, schools and in other sections of the society,” the Chief Justice told the 12th Annual General Meeting of the Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF), at Camp Road, Kingston on Friday (December 10).
ADR is a means for disagreeing parties to come to an agreement short of taking civil court action.
Chief Justice Zaila McCalla (left) speaking with Chairman of the Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF), John Bassie, during the 12th Annual General Meeting of the DRF at its Camp Road office in Kingston Friday (December 10).
She said ADR has had a positive impact on the work of the Supreme Court, noting that by working with members of the judiciary, Attorneys-at-Law and civil society, it is being promoted as the ideal method for conflict resolution in the society.
Mrs. McCalla also thanked the DRF for rendering invaluable service to the country, particularly through the Supreme Court.
“I do recall that when the DRF was first introduced in our courts… there was in fact much resistance. This has been overcome, partly through the work of the Foundation in facilitating training sessions, workshops, seminars and conferences which have sensitised people to what is being done,” she pointed out.
The Chief Justice said that DRF training sessions conducted with judges, and the sensitisation sessions for Resident Magistrates, have assisted greatly, especially at case management conferences.
She stated that the accomplishments of the DRF have been nothing short of “mind boggling”, noting that if other agencies and entities who offer similar public services were as committed and effective the country would be well on its way to peace and order.
Chief Executive Officer of the DRF, Donna Parchment Brown, said that under the DRF’s Court, Corporate and Commercial Mediation and Arbitration Service Division, an initiative is currently being undertaken to assist the Chief Justice with matters related to the delivery of court-connected mediation.
She pointed out that key achievements of the Division, to date, include an increase of 6.7 per cent in cases being referred to the DRF from the Supreme Court, with 76 per cent of mediations successfully concluding in agreement.
The Foundation is a civil society organisation, which works closely with the Government, primarily through the Ministry of Justice, to advocate, train and deliver related services in support of a national agenda for justice, peace and development.