Judge President Accredits Mediators.. to Avoid Life Draining Litigation

Judge President Petrus Damaseb last week Wednesday accredited 31 court appointed mediators from different professions.

The mediators will be engaged in civil litigation to find amicable solutions to what could otherwise be protracted and costly legal proceedings. They will offer mediation free of charge to parties involved in civil action every month. Each of them had to sign a code of conduct setting out their obligations and responsibilities. According to the code of conduct that is available on the Superior Courts website mediation is a process in which an impartial person – a court accredited mediator – facilitates the resolution of a dispute by promoting uncoerced agreement by the parties to the dispute. It states that a mediator must at all times avoid partiality or prejudice or any conduct that gives any appearance of partiality or prejudice. They must also avoid any conflicts of interest by disclosing any actual or potential conflicts of interest known to them. The mediators should also have the necessary competence and appropriate knowledge.

A major part of the mediators’ work will include confidentiality. While the mediation is free of charge for the parties involved, the mediator is entitled to a gratification fee as determined by the Rules of Court or a fee determined by the Office of the Prime Minister. The first batch of court accredited mediators that was introduced by the Judge President include aocates, lawyers, law professors, magistrates, architects and psychologists. During the accreditation, Judge Gordon Low from the United States, who conducted the first training session for court accredited mediators hailed the High Court for its initiative to bring in mediators to shorten what could otherwise take years to solve. He said this process is a transformative process that could change the landscape of what could be “life draining litigation.”

Judge Low said he has trained mediators in various parts of the world, but that the group in Namibia was the most enthusiastic group he ever trained. He said that they will now serve as peacemakers. The mediation training came as a result of a recent workshop held by the High Court of Namibia to usher in what is called “Court-Connected Alternative Dispute Resolution.” The cases designated as mandatory under the new rule are insurance claims, medical negligence claims, professional negligence claims against lawyers, which will have a judge as mediator, building contract cases, disputes involving custody of and maintenance of children and spousal support, loan default cases, as well as motor vehicle accident cases. The new mediators are aocates Esi Schimming-Chase and Jesse Schickerling, Chief Registrar Elsie Schickerling, Eileen Rakow (lawyer), Eliaser Nekwaya (lawyer), Professor of Law John Nakuta, Aocate Christiaan van Zyl, Magistrate Uanivi Uaatjo, Neli Tjahikika (lawyer), Mwamba Mwanakatwe (architect), Nuncia Sikongo (lawyer), Magistrate Elina Nandago, Magistrate Ben Myburgh, Clinical Psychologist Mara Mberira, Annerie Keulder (lawyer), Sebastian Kandandu (LLB graduate), Aocate Japie Jacobs, Magistate Rina Horn, Ngamene Karuaihe-Upi, Dorris Hans-Kaumbi (lawyer), Henriette Garbers-Kirsten (lawyer), Heather Harker (lawyer), Eunice Gonzo (ClinicalIndustrial Psychologist), Hannelie Duvenhage (lawyer), Kudakwashe Chigama (architect), John Baloro (lecturer), Kemma Amkongo (lawyer), Manda Bakkes (architect), Ndatega Asheela (lecturer), Lotta Ambunda (lawyer), Isabella Agenbach (lawyer).

The next training session for aspiring court accredited mediators will be from 12 to 14 June this year and the training is is free of charge. The services of Judge Low are covered by the US Embassy in Windhoek.

Source : New Era