The Rules of the High Court of Namibia were amended in January this year to include reference to mediation. The Rules came into effect on the 16th April. They make for interesting reading:
They are a key part of Judge led case management, in which the Judge may order the parties to go to mediation.
The costs of the mediation are dealt with in an uncontroversial manner, they become costs in the cause of the matter.
The manner in which the parties and their representatives are directed to prepare for the mediation is straightforward and should promote an expeditious procedure.
The parties are required to send representatives with full authority to negotiate, which again should facilitate effective negotiation and prevent delays.
There is a specific reference to the potential for costs orders against parties who do not come to the mediation with proper authority.
The mediator community has apparently been instructed by the Department of Justice to provide mediation in terms of these Rules on a pro-bono basis, at least for the first year of operation, to encourage parties and representatives to engage with the process. Well done Namibia!!