ECSC issues new practice direction on court-connected mediation

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CASTRIES, St Lucia — The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) issued Practice Direction (Re-Issue) Nos. 6 and 7 of 2020 on Court-Connected Mediation slated to come into effect on November 2, 2020.  By this Re-Issued Practice Direction, the ECSC aims to promote and streamline the Court’s approach to Court-Connected Mediation across its nine-member jurisdiction.

The Court-Connected Mediation Practice Direction (Re-Issue) represents a complete overhaul of the 17-year old Practice Direction No. 1 of 2003.  It adopts a multifaceted approach ensuring that all aspects of the mediation process are considered and addressed. These revisions are intended to vastly improve the mediation process and facilitate improved access to justice, especially for unrepresented parties and litigants.

Of particular note is the introduction of pre-action mediations, the expanded role of the Registrar of the High Court in referring matters to mediation and the introduction of 7 additional practice forms and 5 additional schedules including a Code of Ethics and Disciplinary Regulations for Mediators. Importantly, the Re-issued Practice Direction provides for the conduct of mediation sessions remotely utilising a digital platform – a necessary framework during the COVID 19 pandemic and beyond.

As mediation provides an avenue for arriving at mutually agreeable resolutions of disputes which will allow for flexible solutions and settlement in a timely manner, the Honourable Chief Justice recommends that legal practitioners and members of the public utilise mediation as far as possible as a tool for the resolution of disputes outside of Court and as a first step towards resolving disputes arising in commercial transactions, in the community or in the workplace during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The full text of the Re-Issued Practice Direction Nos. 6 and 7 of 2020 can be accessed from the ECSC’s website.

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) was established in 1967 by the West Indies Associated States Supreme Court Order No. 223 of 1967. The ECSC is a superior court of record for the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), including six Independent States: Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines; and three British Overseas Territories: Anguilla, The Territory of the Virgin Islands, and Montserrat. The ECSC has unlimited jurisdiction in each Member State and Territory.

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