Group One: Mediation and alternative dispute resolution

Group One recognises the increasing prominence both internationally and within South Africa of the use of mediation for the effective resolution of civil disputes. This trend is reflected in legislation, court rules and practice which increasingly promote or require use of mediation. Insofar as the process of mediation is concerned the High Court has held the following:

“Mediation can produce remarkable results in the most unpropitious of circumstances, especially when conducted by one of the several hundred people in this country who have been trained in the process. The success of the process lies in its very nature. Unlike settlement negotiations between legal advisers, in themselves frequently fruitful, the process is conducted by an independent expert who can, under conditions of the strictest confidentiality, isolate underlying interests, use the information to identify common ground and, by drawing on his or her own legal and other knowledge, sensitively encourage an evaluation of the prospects of success in the litigation and an appreciation of the costs and practical consequences of continued litigation, particularly if the case is a loser.”

MC v NB 2010 (3) SA 220 (GSJ at 235 paragraph [50] as per Brassey AJ

As the Department of Justice has put it, the advantages of mediation include the following:

  • It offers speedy resolution of disputes.It is considerably cheaper than litigation.
  • It may provide a win-win situation for both parties to a dispute.
  • The process is flexible and avoids technicalities.
  • It is a voluntary process.
  • It promotes reconciliation.

Members of Group One at all levels are well acquainted with mediation and able to advise on the potential use and appropriateness of mediation in proceedings, as well as to advocate and advise at mediation and assist clients in reaching terms of favourable settlement. Group One includes a number of South Africa’s leading mediators and several of the members of Group Once are specifically accredited and experienced as mediators. Members of the Group who are mediators cover a wide range of seniority, and include:

  1. Guy Hoffman SC
  2. Paul Pretorius SC
  3. Paul Carstensen SC
  4. Philip Ginsburg SC
  5. Donovan Smith
  6. Fiona Southwood SC
  7. Siegrid Schulenburg
  8. Zaheera Hoosen