JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF), as part of its 20th anniversary celebrations, will be hosting a Caribbean Conference from July 10 to 12.
  • This comes against the background of Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, proclaiming 2014 as the year of Dispute Resolution.
  • The theme of this year’s conference is: ‘Celebrating the Past. Charting the Future’.

The Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF), as part of its 20th anniversary celebrations, will be hosting a Caribbean Conference from July 10 to 12.

This comes against the background of Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, proclaiming 2014 as the year of Dispute Resolution.

The Governor-General, in making the proclamation earlier this year, urged Jamaicans to identify with, and support the important efforts to strengthen relationships within the country and to move the country closer to justice, peace and development for all.

Speaking with JIS News, Chief Executive Officer for the DRF, Paul Hines, noted that this year’s conference has added meaning when compared to previous ones.

“We are targeting everyone who is in need of, and utilises dispute resolution processes and services. We will have discussions about dispute resolution in businesses, social and domestic situations, as well as divorce mediation, and children’s rights,” he explained.

The theme of this year’s conference is: ‘Celebrating the Past. Charting the Future’.

Mr. Hines said the conference also targets young people, but in a different manner, as they consume information differently from adults.

“We will empower them with skills in dispute resolution and provide them with scenarios to analyse, so that they can apply the knowledge. The session with our young people promises to be entertaining,” he said.

The CEO also underscored the significant role that the Dispute Resolution Foundation plays in the reduction of case backlog in the legal system.

“In Clarendon, St. Elizabeth and Manchester, we have our mediators working at the police station where they address civil matters at the community level, before they become criminal matters. If this continues and the practice adopted in other parishes, we can certainly have a greater impact on the backlog of court cases,” Mr. Hines said.

The conference has received support from the Ministry of Justice through the Justice Reform Implementation Unit (JRIU), which is being directed by former Head of the DRF, Donna Parchment Brown.

Mrs. Parchment Brown told JIS News that the Ministry has been implementing several projects and programmes under the National Justice Agenda, geared towards reforming and modernizing the justice system.

“One such initiative was the review of the Automatic Referral to Mediation in the courts implemented in 2006. This was provided through the Dispute Resolution Foundation,” she said.

The Automatic Referral to Mediation is a method of referring matters from the Supreme Court – Civil Division, Part 74 of the Supreme Court Civil Procedure Rule (CPR). Cases such as divorce, commercial as well as land and family disputes, are referred to mediation through this process.