Mediation centre impresses Zimbabwe Judge

TANZANIA: JUDGE President of the High Court of Zimbabwe, Justice Mary Dube on Wednesday visited the High Court of Tanzania Mediation Centre, as part of her benchmarking visit and was impressed by its operations. Justice Dube arrived at the Centre at around 9.15 am and was received by her host, the Judge in Charge, Hon Zahra Maruma.

After signing the Visitors Book, she received a short report on the Centre’s establishment. Judge Maruma told the Judge President and her delegation that the Centre, as an extension to the High Court, was established in 2015 and has so far successfully mediated several civil disputes.

She explained that from 2015, they started mediating cases from the Dar es Salaam Zone of the High Court and later on land matters after the Judge in Charge High Court’s Land Division expressed the desire to have them mediated as well.

“On the way forward, we are looking to mediate cases from the Commercial Division of the High Court, but we are struggling to see how the law will accommodate (such legal procedure),” the Judge in Charge said.

After such report, Justice Dube was taken to one of mediation rooms and received a presentation showing how the Mediation Centre operates. The Judge in Charge made a well detailed presentation, which met the delegates expectations.

Speaking after such presentation, Judge President of Zimbabwe High Court informed her host that they do not have a mediation system like that of Tanzania High Court.

“We have a pre-trial conference system, which is incorporated in our rules, this involves a Judge seating down with parties to help them resolve the dispute. If the judge is able to resolve the matter, then the parties come up with their own agreement of the way forward,” she said.

Justice Dube pointed out that it is only the Judges that are involved in the pre-trial conference settlement system and it just involved in civil matters, they do not go to criminal route and land matter.

“Settlement rate has been good so far, but we don’t involve the outsiders, perhaps this is the shift that we are looking at, we would want to hear what are the success rate is, where the settlement involves the judges as opposed to when you have engaged the third party in trying to do the mediation.

“Otherwise, we do have alternative dispute resolution system that involve the Judges, perhaps we would look at the outsiders and see how it goes when we hear from you how successful it is to involve the outsiders rather than the judges,” she said.

Judge President of High Court Zimbabwe arrived in the country on November for three days official benchmarking visit to the Judiciary of Tanzania.

She has been accompanied by other officers, including the Secretary of Judicial Service Commission, Mr Walter Chikwana, the Registrar of the High Court of Zimbabwe, Ms Kudzai Maronga, the Head of Finance of Judicial Service Commission, Mr Milton Shadaya and Head of Information Technology (IT) of the Judicial Service Commission, Mr Obey Mayenga.

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