The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution defines mediation as “…a flexible process conducted confidentially in which a neutral person actively assists parties in working towards a negotiated agreement of a dispute or difference, with the parties in ultimate control of the decision to settle and the terms of the resolution.”
Mediation is quickly gaining momentum in South Africa. Although a court can suggest or refer a case to be mediated, this process is a binding “out-of-court” process. As an alternative method of resolving issues between parties, mediation is much more cost effective than litigation, ie. court case involving attorneys or advocates. In general mediation is less than 1% of the cost of normal legal processes and roughly 90% of cases are solved in just one day.
You normally have spheres in mediation, like Private Mediation, Commercial Mediation or Court-annexed Mediation. Irrespective of the sphere, mediation aims to achieve a cost effective and amicable means to resolve disputes of virtually any nature through its:
- Non-prejudicial approach;
The parties in a mediation can at any time decide to take a matter to court if they are not satisfied with the process.
Choosing a mediator is a very important step for the parties involved and you must be sure that you select a suitable mediator to settle your dispute.
The ICTJurist|Nino Hendricks is a certified Commercial and Private mediator and the founder of the Western Cape Affiliated Mediators (WCAM). The mediators at WCAM are experts and well respected in the their fields, so parties can be assured that they are in the best hands.
Type of cases or disputes that can be referred to the WCAM?
Just about any type of dispute can be mediated and currently there are certain courts in South Africa that can refer disputes to mediation, through a process called “court-annexed” mediation.
To give you an idea of disputes/issues that you can refer to the WCAM for mediation:
- Business versus business, Business versus Client or Client versus Business disputes
- If you suffered a personal injury
- Divorce settlements or negotiations
- Maintenance and parental plans
- Disputes in buying or selling your house
- Disputes with family members
- Workplace related disputes, Employer versus Employee, or Employee versus Employer
- Disputes involving wages or even disputes that can lead to disciplinary actions
- A dispute with your neigbour
- Consumer complaints
- Citizen versus Local Authority (Municipality)
- Farmer and Farm-worker disputes
- Issues with a Building contractor
- Disputes in terms of small claims (Please note that certain areas have a small claims court)
As you can see there are many types of issues or disputes that can be resolved through mediation processes. The majority of civil cases can be resolved through mediation and are non-criminal in substance.
If you require the services of the WCAM, please visit the website by clicking here.