Court-annexed mediation in Zambia was first provided under the High Court Rules in 1998 and later extended to the Industrial and Labour Relations Court in order to address the huge case backlog, then existing in the courts.
The mediation success rates, in terms of matters settled, is generally average in both the general and commercial divisions of the High Court, but it is high in the Industrial and Labour Relations division. Currently, the Subordinate Courts Rules are in the process of being amended to also provide for court-annexed mediation.
Mediators are provided only an initial intensive training before being listed on the court’s registry. However, with the current development of institutions that are conducting trainings on mediation, such as the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Zambia), potential exists for more professional mediators to be trained, as well as for continuing or advanced training for mediators.
There is also potential for the future development of private mediation practices, as the popularity of court-annexed mediation increases. As the mediation culture continues to takes root in Zambia, hybrid forms of mediation and ADR could be explored as further means of promoting dispute resolution mechanisms.
By Mugeni Siwale Mulenga, Senior Fellow-Zambia, Weinstein International Foundation