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Mediation Is Key: Construction Companies Reminded

Construction companies have been reminded that a provision for dispute settlement other than the courts system exists through the Fiji Mediation Centre (FMC). Formed in October 2016, the organisation aims
17 Jun 2018 15:54
Mediation Is Key: Construction Companies Reminded

Construction companies have been reminded that a provision for dispute settlement other than the courts system exists through the Fiji Mediation Centre (FMC).

Formed in October 2016, the organisation aims to “find practical solutions and settlement that is acceptable to be involved.”

A major goal of the organisation is to solve disputes between parties before it reaches the court, which can then become costly and take a lot of time to settle.

It is headed by a steering committee that includes two court justices, Consumer Council of Fiji officials and international consultants.According to its website, they have settled 45 cases to date, which it says is a success rate of 87 per cent.

“There are a lot of disputes in the construction industry that can be easily solved through mediation,” says Justice Suresh Chandra, a steering committee member.Justice Chandra, who is a resident Justice of Appeal, was speaking on the second day of the inaugural Construction Industry Council conference at the Warwick Fiji in Korolevu.

“Our mediators are not decision-makers.

They only facilitate dialogue between the parties and help them arrive to a mutual decision.”

The 150 complaints worth FJ$3.1 million the Consumer Council of Fiji received between 2013 and 2017 included disputes that reached court.

The council has already received 56 complaints up to March this year about poor workmanship alone.

Justice Chandra believes these can be minimised with the mediation services they provide. He says the fact that the mediation process was private and gave the chance to both parties to speak made it desirable.

The FMC currently has 42 mediators, according to Justice Chandra; but he says they hope to hire more experts soon.

“We are encouraging specialised people to join us as experts in their entire fields,” he said.

“We hold regular training programmes for our mediators with the Singapore Mediation Centre.”

Feedback:  sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj



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