Apia, Samoa, November 8, 2012
—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is helping the Pacific Island nation of Samoa strengthen its court-referred mediation program so that more people and companies can resolve their legal disputes in a quicker, cheaper, and more amicable way.
“Mediation will enable the courts to help parties resolve disputes fairly and quickly, allowing them to get back to doing business,” said Chief Justice Patu Sapolu. “Expanding and improving the court-referred mediation program is an important development for the Samoan legal system.”
Samoa began offering mediation – a confidential and informal way of resolving legal disputes between two parties with the help of a neutral third person, the mediator – in 2007. To improve mediation services, IFC is helping Samoa’s Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration implement a law that regulates alternative dispute resolution to further refine the existing system.
“If the parties agree to court-referred mediation, the disputed matter could be resolved within a week,” said Christine Bowers, IFC’s Pacific Investment Climate Investment Manager. “For those that have neither time nor money to go through the standard litigation process, mediation can be extremely beneficial.”
IFC is also helping the ministry strengthen training for potential mediators. This week, 21 professionals from the legal, business, insurance, engineering, and other fields will undergo five days of intensive training to become mediators. Those who meet the requirements will be accredited on November 12 and 13. More workshops are planned for judges, lawyers, government officials, and the private and public sectors in the coming months.
The Australia, Japanese, and New Zealand governments support IFC’s activities in Samoa.
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