Divorce & family mediation
Mediation is now mandatory in dispute resolution: Don’t get left behind
A recent amendment to the High Court Rules (Rule 41A), which came into effect on 9 March 2020, has made it mandatory for parties to consider mediation at the outset of any contemplated litigation. Attorneys who do not attempt mediation may receive costs orders against them. As mediation becomes the norm in dispute resolution, attorneys will benefit from becoming qualified mediators.
This course in mediation equips you with a start-to-finish process on the basis of which you can apply for accreditation to NABFAM (The National Accreditation Board for Family Mediators) as a mediator in family and divorce dispute resolution.
This 52-hour course provides bespoke training for legal practitioners who wish to become accredited family and divorce law mediators in South Africa.
What makes our course unique?
Our course offers a unique combination of foundational training (40 hours) and training in applied psychology (12 hours), whereas other training programmes only cover foundational training. We have added training in applied psychology, as this component is compulsory for legal practitioners who seek accreditation as family and divorce mediators. Additionally, delegates have the option of participating in 10 hours of role play, which serves as their requisite practical training. Read on for more details.
The route to accreditation
To become an accredited mediator in family and divorce disputes, you are required to complete two components, namely:
- A theoretical component, consisting of
- 40 hours of foundation Divorce and Family Mediation Training; AND
- 12 hours of Applied Psychology for Family Mediators.
- A practical component, consisting of
- 10 hours of supervised role play (where you spend 5 hours in the mediator role); OR
- 3 mediation sessions supervised by an accredited mediator
Once you have received certificates for both the theoretical and the practical components, you can apply for accreditation at any NABFAM-affiliated body.
Our certificates are sufficient proof that you have met both the theoretical and the practical requirements for the said accreditation.
Features of the theoretical component (52-hour course)
- The unique combination of the basic mediation skills and the applied psychology skills provides legal practitioners with training which meets the requirements for accreditation and is presented in a comfortable timeframe.
- The course content addresses the legal, financial, cultural, ethical, and psychological aspects of family and divorce mediation.
- The course comprises 30 hours of online sessions, consisting of 21 hours of theory and 9 hours of role play. (The 9 hours of role play here should not be confused with the additional 10 hours of role play which make up the practical component. All candidates participate in the 9 hours of role play which form part of the 52-hour foundational training.)
- The remaining 22 hours are dedicated to self-study before, during and after the course. This includes completing and handing in an assignment.
- After successful completion of the theoretical component, a certificate of satisfactory attendance will be issued.
Features of the practical component (10-hour role play course)
- We offer a 10-hour role play course to comply with the practical component for receiving accreditation.
- During the 10-hour role play the supervisors will present candidates with case studies and candidates will be allocated a specific role to play.
- The benefit of this option is that candidates gain practical experience by participating in multiple mediation sessions.
- This is good preparation for real-life mediation sessions without supervision.
- Candidates can register for this option on the registration page.
Logistics and details
- The course is available in English and Afrikaans.
- English and Afrikaans classes are run simultaneously in different Zoom sessions.
- Participants attending classes presented in Afrikaans will receive the study material in both Afrikaans and English.
- The 30 hours of online sessions take place on six mornings spread over three weeks – two mornings per week.
- All online sessions take place in the mornings from 8:30-13:30 via Zoom.
- The role play sessions will be conducted in breakout sessions on Zoom.
- Class sizes are limited to ensure an interactive class setting.
- Course material will be sent electronically, in printable PDF-format, shortly before the course commences.
- ALL sessions must be attended to receive the certificate.
- Recordings will not be available.
- Mediation intake procedures
- Mediator’s opening statements
- Agreement to mediate
- The Children’s Act 38 of 2005
- Legal information
- Dialectic model of stages in the divorce process
- The effects of divorce on children
- Example of a “without prejudice” memorandum of understanding
- Income, assets and liabilities
- Budget sheet
- Useful techniques
- Impasse strategies
Certificates and accreditation
- The course is listed on NABFAM's accredited courses list under Melindi van Rooyen and Claire Penfold Divorce and Family Mediation & Applied Psychology Training for Lawyers (52 hrs).
- Please note: The Gawie le Roux Institute of Law does not issue a certificate of accreditation. This is issued by any NABFAM-affiliated body upon application by the candidate.
- However, the attendance certificates that we issue indicate that the candidate has successfully completed the relevant component of the family and divorce mediation training.
- After completing the theoretical component, a candidate must still complete the practical component – through either role play or supervised mediation sessions.
- Once the candidate has received certificates for both the theoretical and the practical components, he/she can apply for accreditation at any NABFAM-affiliated body.
- Our certificates will be sufficient proof that the candidate meets the theoretical and practical requirements for accreditation.
Why mediation instead of litigation?
- It is now mandatory for parties to consider mediation at the outset of any contemplated litigation.
- Attorneys who do not attempt mediation may receive costs orders against them.
- Mediation has been an accepted alternative dispute resolution mechanism (ADR) for a long time.
- Mediation is the facilitated negotiation of a dispute conducted by an impartial mediator with the objective of arriving at a settlement.
- There is pressure from the legislator (see Rule 41A of the High Court) for family and divorce matters to be settled through mediation.
- Sub-rule 2(b) compels the defendant or respondent to file a notice of agreement or opposition to mediation before a plea or opposing papers may be issued.
- Sub-rule (3) provides that the parties may at any stage refer their matter for mediation, provided that the court’s consent is necessary once the hearing has commenced.
- It is increasingly accepted that the traditional adversarial system of litigation, is not well suited to the resolution of divorce cases and other family disputes. More specifically, the adversarial system aggravates the detrimental effect of divorce on children.
- In fact, the advantages of mediation in family matters are highly acclaimed worldwide.
- Mediation is an extremely valuable method of resolving disputes between spouses as it creates a platform for settling conflict by seeking mutual solutions and, in the process, limiting the destructive effect of divorce on families.
- If mediation is conducted by a skilled mediator, it should be a shorter and more cost-effective process than conventional litigation.
- Rule 41A is not a mere formality. Attorneys need to familiarise themselves with the different methods of mediation and the steps required by Rule 41A need to be well understood.
- Lastly, apart from mediation being the ethically more correct way, it should prove more profitable for your practice over the medium to long term.
- Our training in mediation for legal practitioners provides you with a start-to-finish process that will help you to become a qualified mediator.
- By attending these courses and gaining accreditation, you will acquire a whole new skillset which will enable you to keep up with the times.
- You will benefit from the presenters’ experience in the field as you not only learn the theory but also practise mediation skills in a supervised setting.