Wednesday 1 April, 2020

Mediators being trained to help reduce court backlog

Barbados is expected to increase the number of trained mediators on the roster for court soon, as the first step towards specially training others is being taken.

In 2016, the Supreme Court of Barbados prepared a list of persons who had already received some training in Mediation but needed to have their skills updated before they could undertake the specialized training needed to be placed on the Court roster.

Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson said that that opportunity has finally presented itself.

Today marks day two of a three-day Mediation Refresher Course being hosted by Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean (IMPACT Justice) in association with The Supreme Court of Barbados.

With the assistance of IMPACT Justice, Riverdale Mediation Inc. a Toronto-based mediation training group will conduct the refresher course which ends tomorrow April 5th.

In addressing yesterday’s opening Sir Marston said cases brought before both the High Court and the Magistrate’s Court can be sent to mediation by the judges and magistrates under Practice Directions issued by the Chief Justice in March 2016.

“The idea is that mediation should be an automatic consequence of filing a civil action in the Court, subject to exceptions laid out in the Practice Direction. To date, however, there are only eleven trained mediators on the Roster in Barbados as the absence of funding became an ever-present issue,” he noted.

The training according to Sir Marston will be followed by practicums which involve each trainee being assigned three real cases filed in the High Court and three filed in the Magistrate’s Court.

The trainees will then sit as mediators of those cases, under the supervision of a trainer who will review with the trainee the good and bad points noted in the mediations.

He said it is expected that as more cases are settled, mediation will be seen as a cost-effective way for conducting and ending civil litigation and, ultimately, even some criminal proceedings.


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