Inaugural of the Court-Annexed Mediation Unit (CAMU)

The Hon. President of the Bhutan National Legal Institute, Her Royal Highness Ashi Sonam Dechan Wangchuck; and H.E.Lyonpo Tshering Wangchuk, the Hon. Chief Justice of Bhutan inaugurated the opening of the Court-Annexed Mediation Unit (CAMU) of the Royal Court of Justice, Punakha yesterday Monday 28 October 2019. The historic judicial reform event was attended by the judges of the Supreme Court, the High Court, and the judges of the neighboring Dzongkhag courts. It was also attended by Punakha Dzongkhag officials, local government leaders and members of the public. The event symbolised the official opening of the CAMUs and institutionalization of the Court-Annexed Mediation (CAM) System in all courts. In addition to the age-old customary mediation practices in the Chiwogs and Gewogs, the CAM system provides alternative or additional mediation services to the people within the courts, to prevent having win-lose decisions in courts after protracted and often expensive and adversarial litigations. In this system, the judges can refer appropriate civil cases to the CAMUs for judicial mediation; alternatively, the parties can request the judges to adjourn the cases and refer their cases to in-house judicial mediation service after the registration of the cases; any time, before the judgements are rendered. If the mediations are successful, the courts will endorse the settlement agreements and render judgements thereon, and enforce accordingly. If the mediations fail the cases will be reverted for adjudication as per laws. Earlier this year, the Institute has trained 80 senior Bench Clerks as professional judicial mediators. The necessary CAM Concept document, CAM Strategic Plan, CAM Forms, CAM Accreditation Standards of the Mediators, CAM Rules and Procedures, and CAM Registers and CAM logo have been developed by the Institute. The courts are expected to designate CAMUs in their respective courts and begin operationalising the system. The CAM system is aimed at enhancing access to justice and preserving relationship between the people; promoting peace and harmony in the country through the collaborative and facilitative efforts of mediators who help parties in customising ‘win-win’ or mutually satisfying outcomes. The Court-Annexed Mediation or the judicial mediation services is a significant judicial reform in recent years aimed at keeping justice as inexpensive and expeditious as possible, in addition to strengthening the community vitality, preserving relationship between the people and promoting the Gross National Happiness.

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