How effective has mediation been in the administration of justice
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In Zambia and world over, the most common way of resolving disputes between individuals and individuals and the states is through the court system. However, it has been observed that there are other ways in which a dispute can be resolved apart from using the court system. This method is what is termed as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Alternative dispute resolution is defined as any of a variety of techniques for resolving civil disputes without the need for conventional litigation. It may include informal methods of arbitration, and structured forms of conciliation using a specially trained mediator as a go between. Why resort to ADR one may ask? The answer is that the Zambian Courts are flooded with a lot of cases and most of them have not been resolved within the expected time frame. Moreover, litigation has been described as being too formal, costly and rather divisive. ADR in Zambia has mainly existed through one mechanism known as arbitration which has been on the statute books for quiet some time in Zambia. Arbitration is the determination of a dispute by one or more independent third parties rather than by a Court. The Arbitration Act was first introduced in 1993. However, it was repealed and replaced by the enactment of a new Arbitration Act number 19 of 2000. One of the major forms of ADR mechanism is called mediation and is the main focus of this study. Mediation is a form of ADR in which an independent third party called a mediator assists the parties involved in a dispute or negotiation to achieve a mutually acceptable resolution of the points of conflict. The Zambian Judiciary in an attempt to reduce the backlog of cases in the courts introduced the Court-Amiexed mediation programme to address the number of complaints raised by lawyers and litigants alike.
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