Briefly summarize the non-court based processes available in your jurisdiction and the current status of agreements reached under the auspices of mediation, collaborative law, and arbitration.
In relation to Family law, the only use of mediation is through the Family Guidance Committee, the commencement of most family cases must be referred here. The committee is made up of a number of counselors with mediation/ counseling training. They are not legally trained. Their job is to assist the parties to either reconcile or amicably resolve the issue(s) in dispute. Notice is given to the parties to attend the meeting, the counselor can ask for a number of meetings to give the parties time to seek legal advice, or reconsider any proposed settlement. Any agreement reached within the Family Guidance Committee meetings can be drafted into documentary form, and signed by both parties before a judge. The resulting judgment is legally binding on the parties and can be enforced as required through the courts.
In the event that one party refuses to attend the Family Guidance Committee or the counselor determines that an agreement cannot be reached, a ‘no objection letter’ is issued to enable the parties to progress court proceedings.