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IMPACT aims at reduce backlogs in CARICOM Courts

IMPACT aims at reduce backlogs in CARICOM Courts


The Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean (IMPACT Justice) Project is implementing its activities for increasing the use of mediation to assist courts in CARICOM countries with reducing their case backlogs.{{more}}

The five-year, justice sector reform project, funded by the Canadian Government, commences a two-day mediator refresher training programme, in conjunction with the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC), for courts in the OECS. These training sessions kicked off yesterday, March 2, in Dominica at the Flamboyant Hotel.

Professor Velma Newton, regional project director, IMPACT Justice, pointed out that the project seeks to encourage greater use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms, including mediation towards enhancing access to justice.

“The idea is to use mediation as a means of settling disputes at an early stage and without court intervention. When people go to the courts they want their cases resolved. If it takes too long for a resolution, it creates a defeatist situation,” she said.

“Mediation supplements the judicial system. We need to have trained mediators to help reduce the backlog of cases already before the courts and to stem the flow of new cases going to the courts.”

She disclosed that between 2003 and 2013, over 20 mediators in Dominica were trained and some of them were chosen for inclusion on the Court-Annexed Mediation Roster established by Practice Direction 1, 2003 of the ECSC.

“These mediators will be given an opportunity to upgrade their skills through the Mediator Refresher Training Programme,” she explained.

As part of the training, facilitators Francis Compton, OECS Regional Mediation coordinator and Lenore St Croix, office manager, Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Headquarters in St Lucia, will reinforce the basic concepts associated with court-connected mediation and hone the mediation skills of participants by exposing them to advanced and real-life practical exercises.

Other countries scheduled for this first round of Mediator Refresher Training include Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines. Training in Grenada takes place from March 11 to 12, 2015, while the dates for St Vincent and the Grenadines are still to be determined.