The Court-Annexed Mediation Rules which will be implemented in the District and Regional Courts form part of Government's effort to transform the civil justice and enhance access to justice.
The Rules of Voluntary Court-Annexed Mediation (Chapter 2 of the Magistrates’ Courts Rules) were approved by the Minister and came into operation on 1 December 2014. The pilot project sites are in Gauteng and the North-West Province. The pilot project will be rolled out to sites, in other provinces, in conjunction with the rationalisation process.
The objective of these Rules is to assist Case-Flow Management in the reduction of disputes appearing before Court and to promote access to justice. The Rules make provision for the referral of disputes for mediation at any stage during civil proceedings, provided that judgment has not been delivered by the Presiding Officer.
Mediation adopts a flexible approach compared to the rigid and tedious legal processes which most often require services of a lawyer to present before court. Disputes are usually resolved in a reconciliatory manner and mediation, therefore, promotes restorative justice.
To assist with the implementation of the Mediation Rules the Minister has appointed an Advisory Committee which will advise the Minister regarding the norms and standards for mediators and for the accreditation of mediators for enlistment to the panel as required by the Mediation Rules.