Mediation in Jamaica

THE DISPUTE RESOLUTION FOUNDATION was incorporated July 1994 to increase cooperation in the management and resolution of disputes involving business, the police, courts, social service agencies and the people, through the controlled process of mediation, under the Chairmanship of Mr. Novar McDonald.

In mediation a trained unbiased person guides the disputants to a resolution of their dispute.  There is respect for the rationalityand responsibility of the persons involved and experience teaches that people live up to our expectations of them and their own decisions.

The DRF has a panel of skilled mediators and trainers to resolve disputes, train mediators, and develop business, court-annexed, police and community dispute resolution, and arbitration programmes – appropriate options for dispute resolution, under the patronage of the Chief Justice of Jamaica.

February 1995 to the present has seen over 80,000 persons being recipients of training or service, in Jamaica, Belize, Haiti, Trinidad & Tobago, The Bahamas, Guyana, Barbados and the OECS states.  Participants included teachers, students, lay magistrates, police officers, community leaders, inmates, correctional service officers, judges, attorneys, corporate executives, managers, line staff and young people.

Peace & Justice Centres have been established in Kingston & St. Andrew, St. Mary, Manchester, Hanover, St. Catherine, St. Ann,Portland, Trelawny and Clarendon with four locations in St. James. Trained mediators are in St. Thomas, Westmoreland and St. Elizabeth. These centres and mediators will offer mediation services and support the work of the police, courts, CBOs and schools in reducing crime and violence in Jamaica.

Public awareness of mediation has greatly increased as political parties, the correctional services, social development groups and the business communities have begun to use our services to improve the workplace climate.

The DRF was set up by a USAID grant under the Security & Justice Improvement Project which ended in 1996. From May June 2000 to August 2005 the DRF, as a significant partner implemented the Social Conflict and Legal Reform Project (SCLRP) of CIDA and the Government of Jamaica.   This project included training of mediators and establishing of Peace & Justice Centres in Trench Town and Flankers in Montego Bay.  In addition, new Civil Procedure Rules, Part 74, instituting automatic referral to Mediation in the Civil Division of the Supreme Court came into being in January 2006.

The DRF continues to work throughout Jamaica and the Caribbean, promoting Mediation programmes, as well as interventions in communities, schools and incidence of domestic violence. Continued sustainability and institutional growth and strengthening will require a combination of corporate and international grants and donations as well as fees for service.