New judge speaks on need to further promote mediation
The need to further promote the concept of mediation in court was stressed this morning by Mr Justice Robert Mangion during his inaugural sitting.
During mediation, he said, a neutral third party facilitated communication between the parties involved, possibly leading to an agreed solution avoiding the need for a judgement to be imposed.
Mr Justice Mangion said he saw major potential among retired judges to act as mediators.
Their vast experience made them the ideal people to occupy the post of a neutral third party facilitating agreements between the parties.
He said he believed there was an urgent meet for a revision of the procedure in civil and commercial mediation with the court being given the right to directly nominate mediators rather than referring cases to the Mediation Centre.
In the family court, which Mr Justice Mangion said he shall be presiding, mediation had led to a number of success stories with parties reconciling.
He praised his predecessor in the family court Judge Noel Cuschieri and promised to give particular attention to the best interests of minors.
He said he would do his utmost for children to be heard with their vulnerability and sensitiveness being respected.
He recalled that when the family court was being set up 10 years ago, the idea was that it would also have the facility to appoint conciliators, besides the mediators.
The conciliators would help couples going through a difficult time examine the possibility of reconciliation.
Mr Justice Mangion said that although under the current law mediators could explore the possibility of reconciliation, they were not trained as family councillors or therapists.
He said he had major reservations about the way judgements given by this court were published on the court website, practically including all details except for names.
Because of the country's size where everyone knew one another, it was easy to work out who was who to the detriment of one's privacy. One, he said, should consider putting online just a synopsis, rather than the whole judgement.
He said that next year being the 10th anniversary of the setting up of this court, it was an opportune moment for all those involved in its operation to evaluate the experience and see what could be done to further improve the situation.
Mr Justice Mangion also spoke briefly on the official letter procedure noting that the time may have come so that, following consultation with the Chamber of Advocates, the relevant articles of the law were re-examined for the notification procedure to be extended, making it identical to that used for court cases.
One, he said, should also consider removing unnecessary bureaucracy and give porters the facility to make notifications of the judicial acts after hours for a greater probability of finding people at home.