Rwanda: Over Rwf11 Billion Saved Through Mediation Mechanisms – Judiciary

Reports from the judiciary indicate that the monetary value of cases that were successfully resolved through mediation rather than litigation amounted to over Rwf11billlion.

This is the first time that the judicial officials have quantified the economic value of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, specifically Court Annexed Mediation (CAM) and mediation done by courts.

CAM is a mechanism where court registrars and judges encourage conflicting parties to settle their disputes amicably through mediation, after realising that it is the most appropriate way.

In addition to this, the 2018 Civil Procedure Law allows judges to be mediators or assist the parties find a mediator, unlike the 2012 one which only allowed registrars to do that.

Mediation is used for settling civil, commercial, labour and administrative cases.

Last year, 821 cases were resolved through mediation, statistics from the judiciary show.

However, speaking to The New Times, Harrison Mutabazi, the Spokesperson of the Judiciary, said not all those cases can be quantified in monetary terms.

“We quantified cases related to things like contracts and property. There are cases that cannot be quantified in monetary terms. For example, if you mediate a couple on the brink of divorce, you cannot quantify that,” he said.

The judiciary is trying hard to encourage people to opt for alternative dispute resolution mechanisms rather than litigation.

Besides saving money that would be spent in paying lawyers and other expenses involved in usual litigation processes, officials say that alternative dispute resolution also restores relationships among people and this contributes to a peaceful and happy Rwandan society.

Commenting on the monetary value of the cases resolved through mediation, Professor Sam Rugege, the head of the Advisory Committee of Professional Mediators, set up by the judiciary said “the development is to be welcomed but it is a small fraction of the wealth that is tied up in courts which can go on for years.”

He added: “It just proves the point that every effort should be made to resolve disputes in the shortest time possible and at the lowest cost, which is possible through alternative dispute resolution.”

In the coming years, the judiciary targets that at least 1,500 of the civil cases presented to the courts of law will be sorted through mediation.

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