| Azlan Othman |
MEDIATION is a tool to resolve disputes because it offers parties the opportunity to develop settlements that are practical, economical and durable.
It also saves the feuding parties’ relationship, said the Chief Justice yesterday.
Dato Seri Paduka Haji Kifrawi bin Dato Paduka Haji Kifli said private mediation should be cultivated and court litigation should be regarded as the last resort.
Even if matters were brought to court, there should be a mediation session made available to parties.
He made this remark while speaking at the opening of a five-day mediation workshop organised in collaboration with the Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC).
Mediation has been used during the consultation stage in the Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) and has also been used in divorce cases and in certain high court cases, he said.
Mediation has been proven to be an effective way to resolve disputes amicably.
It is a less expensive way of dealing with disputes and has flexibility that is not available through a court-based system, he said.
Dato Seri Paduka Haji Kifrawi added, at present, mediation has been practiced in the Brunei courts both formally and informally.
For small value claims up to $10,000, the Small Claims Tribunal Order has made the use of mediation as compulsory at the consultation stage.
At the consultation stage, the Deputy and Assistant Deputy Registrars act as mediators in order to assist parties to reach settlement.
Statistics have shown that of the cases that were brought before SCT, 90 per cent have been settled through mediation without having gone through adjudication.
Informally, mediation has also been used in divorce cases and in certain high court matters.
Dato Seri Paduka Haji Kifrawi also said Syariah Registrars used mediation in ‘Sulh’ cases whilst officers from JPKE who are the Custodian of Consumer Protection Order used mediation when they receive complaints from consumers.
It is therefore imperative that the officers assigned to hear these disputes be equipped with the essential skills to mediate and resolve the conflicts brought before them.
This training is to facilitate the judicial officers to become accredited mediators.
The workshop in managing conflicts and resolving disputes effectively through mediation is attended by over 20 participants comprising of high court and intermediate court judges, judicial officers, officers from the Syariah court and the Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE) at the law and court building.
Unlike the mediation workshop that was previously held jointly in Brunei Darussalam by the civil courts and SMC in 2012, this workshop would give an opportunity for the participants to be assessed and ultimately be accredited.
This would in turn enhance the public confidence when their matters are heard before accredited mediators.
Facilitating the workshop is the Executive Director of Singapore Mediation Centre, Loong Seng Onn, Shanti Abraham and See Chern Yang.
Also present were the Acting Chief Syar’ie Judge, Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Seri Utama Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Salim bin Haji Besar, the Court Judges of the Civil and Syariah Courts, the Solicitor General, senior government officers from the Syariah Court and JPKE.