Mediation in Zambia was introduced in 2000 after a Zambian delegation consisting of late Supreme Court Judge Peter Chitengi, Supreme Court Judge Phillip Musonda (then Chief Administrator of the Judiciary), High Court Judge Nigel Mutuna (then Secretary of The Law Association of Zambia-LAZ) were invited to Washington.D.C. and Richmond, Virginia from February 12 to February 19, 2000 in order to establish the foundation for suitable Zambian court annexed mediation and training programs.
Specifically the invitational travel was intended to:
1.Â Â Â Expose key Zambians to comparative mediation models and administrative systems for court mediation programs
2.Â Â Â Develop a work plan to be executed by the Zambians for the implementation of Mediator Training and Settlement Week events scheduled for April and August 2000
3.Â Â Â Begin development of policies and procedures for the use of mediation in the Zambian Civil Justice System.
This is a week set aside in the court calendar where high court judges select cases for settlement week and priority is given to cases in the following categories;
â€¢Â Â Â Oldest pending cases
â€¢Â Â Â Mortgages and Debt collection
â€¢Â Â Â Collision
â€¢Â Â Â Pro se parties
â€¢Â Â Â Breach of Contract
Mediators appointed by the courts will help parties and their lawyers to reach an amicable settlement to their dispute.
How does it work
Mediation is very successful in assisting parties to resolve their disputes. The sessions are confidential and informal, parties can feel comfortable to discuss their case with candor, state grievances and reveal confidential settlement offers.
The mediator will first meet with the parties and their attorneys (or lawyers), if represented and hear from all parties in the case. Most likely the mediator will spend time alone with the plaintiff and with the defendant. What the parties say to the mediator in these private meetings will not be shared with the other party, unless the party allows the mediator to do so.
The mediator will help the parties to keep the discussions focused to talk about possible ways the dispute might be resolved and to assist in drafting an agreement that is acceptable to all parties. If an agreement is reached and signed, the case will be concluded that day.
Mediation session will last about two (2) hours. However, it maybe necessary for the mediation to continue for a longer period of time, or to be continued to another day.
From the year 2000 when mediation in Zambia was introduced they have been 190 Court annexed trained mediators and the statistics of the cases that have been referred to mediation can be broken down as follows;
- Cases referred(since inception i.e 2000-date) to mediation -1219
- Cases referred to mediation NOT settled-199
- Cases referred to mediation NOT mediated-256
- Cases referred to mediation ON going-44
- Cases referred to mediation - mediated & fully settled-320