Enhancing the Delivery of Civil Justice: Improving Court-Annexed Mediation in Zambia
In collaboration with the judiciary of Zambia, the Weinstein International Foundation is working to enhance and improve court-annexed mediation services. This multi-phase mediation training project, initiated in 2019 by Senior Fellow, Judge Mugeni Mulenga, aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of court mediators. It is also designed to increase the settlement rate of cases pending in Zambia’s courts while expanding the use of mediation outside the court system.
In December 2019, Foundation Board Members and select Senior Fellows traveled to the annual conference of the Judiciary of Zambia on “Enhancing Capacities for Improved Access to Justice,” which brought together judges from courts across the country. This annual conference serves as a forum for judges to address key issues affecting the administration of justice in Zambia, including the role of mediation in assisting courts to speed the settlement of disputes.
With support from the Weinstein International Foundation, fifty magistrates from subordinate courts traveled to the conference and undertook an intensive three-day training workshop on mediation. Board members and Senior Fellows from Nigeria, Rwanda, and South Africa shared mediation experiences from their countries. The conference enabled participants to comparatively examine and benefit from mediation models from other jurisdictions.
This project continues as a mediation training initiative in multiple phases. The first phase involved the training of a core team of key stakeholders from the judiciary and legal organizations with support from the Edwards Mediation Academy. The second phase involved the subsequent training of twenty selected judges and mediators with support from ADR Center. Facilitators of both trainings include Foundation Board Members and Senior Fellows from Europe and the Caribbean. A third phase will involve the training of twenty-five mediators to occur in 2022.
As an immediate next event, a 2-day virtual sensitization training is planned to take place in February 2022 to highlight the important role of mediation advocacy for lawyers in developing a culture of mediation. The training will also include collaboration from other Senior Fellows working in the region.
The training under this project will greatly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of court mediators, resulting in the increased settlement of cases, while enhancing the delivery of civil justice in Zambia.