In an effort to reduce the volume of litigation before the courts and expand access to justice in Barbados, the Justice Improvement Programme Secretariat (JIPS) will launch its court-annexed Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) project on Wednesday, July, 8, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St. Michael, at 5:30 p.m.

ADR is part of an overall programme intended to modernise the administration of justice.

In facilitation of the project, the Government of Barbados contracted an international consultant to customise a court-annexed ADR mechanism for the justice sector of Barbados. The consultancy will establish mediation as a sustainable alternative to resolving civil and criminal cases that are appropriate for mediation. This would involve establishing a list of trained and certified mediators and early neutral evaluators.

The consultant must therefore develop an ADR programme, consistent with established standards and norms, design, coordinate, implement and manage a pilot project in court-annexed ADR, undertake workshops for judges, magistrates, attorneys and members of civil society organisations, as well as propose standards, establish a suitable process for certification and evaluation of mediators and trainers of mediators.

In addition, the consultant must examine and review legislation relating to ADR, including the Rules of Court to facilitate the use of court-annexed ADR, prepare guidance procedures on ADR and assist the court in training and certifying a core of persons as mediators.

Approximately 200 persons will be exposed to training through the ADR programme, with an estimated 80 trainees being certified as court-annexed mediators at the end of the one-year consultancy.

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