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JIS News

Legal practitioners, businesspersons, young persons and community workers are expected to gain insight into mediation and negotiation skills, during the 3rd Caribbean Conference on Dispute Resolution, to be held at the Half Moon Hotel in Montego Bay from May 24 to 27.
The biennial conference, which is being organized by the Dispute Resolution Foundation, in concert with the Mona School of Business, will be held under the theme: ‘Matching the Process to the Problem: Dispute Resolution Options for the Caribbean’.
The use of mediation in the delivery of justice as well as the application of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) strategies in the legal, commercial and social sectors of the society will be explored at the conference.
Executive Director of the Dispute Resolution Foundation, Donna Parchment, told JIS News that the conference would provide “an opportunity, not just for attorneys, their clients and potential clients to learn about mediation in the courts and the rules that govern it, but also to acquire some good negotiation skills”. Miss Parchment was speaking against the background of the increased use of mediation in the court system.
She explained that in the Supreme Court, Civil Jurisdiction, where disputes between large businesses are handled, cases are always referred to mediation, “unless there is some very good reason why you shouldn’t go”.
Miss Parchment noted that the parties are allowed to negotiate a settlement in a private setting, and that the decision taken is recorded as the order of the Court. Such a settlement, she said, “is enforceable just as if it were made by the judge”.
This transformation, Miss Parchment added, was also taking place in the Resident Magistrate and Petty Session Courts where “we are seeing a diversion from trial and a diversion from sentencing,” as mediation becomes increasingly popular.
Recognizing that conflicts will occur in interpersonal relationships, she explained that the conference is designed “to give all persons who may need to deal with conflicts in an institutional or an individual way, exposure to a stream of knowledge and presenters who are targeting their concerns”. ‘Taking Youth Mediation to the Streets,’ and ‘Mediation in the Commonwealth Caribbean,’ are two of the topics that will be addressed in the seminars and workshops. Others will include ‘Business/Workplace Mediation’ and ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Courts’. Participants will also be guided in how to design Dispute Resolution systems for their organizations or social groups.
The event, which is supported by the Gleaner Company Limited, the National Yellow Pages, Stewarts Auto Sales and the National Hosing Trust, will draw from a large pool of local, regional, and international presenters. Chief among them are, Dr. Basil Wilson, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dr. Maria Volpe, Professor and Director of Dispute Resolution Programme at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York.
Prospective participants are encouraged to register early. The full cost of attending the conference is US$350. Students with ID are required to pay US$260.
A daily rate of US$150, with a reduced price of US$75 for students with ID, has been set for persons who wish to attend on selected days. Young people, youth workers and members of community organizations, in particular, are encouraged to use this option, as May 25 has been designated Youth Day, while the focus on May 26 will be on community related issues.
Registration forms and further information may be obtained from the Dispute Resolution Foundation or the Mona School of Business.