International Conference on Consumer Redress

On 9-10 April 2018 the Faculty of Law, Stellenbosch University (dr. Theo Broodryk) and KU Leuven (prof. dr. Stefaan Voet) jointly organized the inagural International Conference on Consumer Redress. The purpose of the conference was to “discuss various local and international consumer redress mechanisms, including alternative dispute resolution methods and class actions, as a means to resolving consumer disputes.” The conference was attended by scholars from South-Africa, Europe, the US and Asia. 

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New Book on Comparative Court Mediation Reform

The findings of an empirical study on court mediation reform by Shahla Ali of the University of Hong Kong has recently been published by Edward Elgar.  The book, Court Mediation Reform: Efficiency, Confidence and Perceptions of Justice, has been described as follows:

As judiciaries advance, exploring how court mediation programs can provide opportunities for party-directed reconciliation whilst ensuring access to formal legal channels requires careful investigation. Court Mediation Reform explores comparative empirical findings in order to examine the association between court mediation structure and perceptions of justice, efficiency and confidence in courts.

This unique study draws on an eighty-three person survey as well as case studies from ten global mediation jurisdictions including Australia, France, Hong Kong, India, and the United States. Given the highly contextual nature of court mediation programs, the book highlights the achievements, challenges and lessons learned in the implementation of mediation programs for general civil claims. In so doing, the study identifies that positive achievements are largely dependent on multiple factors including the functioning of the civil litigation system, the capacities of the mediators, safeguards against bias, participant education, and cultural and institutional support.

This book will be of interest to both scholars and practitioners of law, civil justice, mediation, comparative law and dispute resolution. It will also be of use to judiciaries and policy makers looking to advance court mediation programs.

Reviewers have noted the following about the study:

‘Shahla Ali’s work is an innovative meta-analysis of the trends in the institutionalization of mediation at the macro level. It has an ambitious approach that had not been attempted yet, and paves the way for other future research, as well as providing guidance to policy makers and professionals.’
– Luigi Cominelli, The University of Milan, Italy

‘Professor Shahla Ali has performed a valuable service for conflict resolution policy makers around the world. Providing diverse and mixed data reports of the uptake and resistance to court (and some private) mediation programs in ten different legal systems, she artfully surveys important legal, social and cultural differences in the uses and effectiveness of voluntary and mandatory mediation programmes. While some seek efficiency, others seek efficacy, through party-tailored solutions or regional integration dispute resolution schemes. Different programme motivations (and the varied role of lawyers) provide variation, not uniformity, in the use of mediation to resolve civil, family, labour and commercial disputes. A must-read for any dispute system designer, or court administrator or mediator.’
– Carrie Menkel-Meadow, University of California, Irvine and Georgetown University Law Center, US

‘Professor Ali’s book offers the most comprehensive, qualitative study and insights on Global Court Mediation I have encountered. It should be in the hands of every court in the world.’
– Judge Dorothy Nelson, United States Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit