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Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia Saturday said that the absence of a settlement culture among litigants was the single most important factor in the flooding of courts with cases.

He said that in foreign countries, people prefer settlement over litigation and made a specific reference about the prevalence of this culture in Taiwan in his inaugural address at the two-day National Mediation Conference of judges of the Supreme Court, high courts and eminent jurists.

Winning a case and not settling it is core to the mindset of people who have very big egos, Kapadia maintained.

Coupled with this, people have little appreciation for the value of time. Thus, for recovering Rs.5, people will spend 15 years in the courts, he pointed out.

Kapadia said that the real challenge is to develop a settlement culture across the board and in this, the role of the mediator was much more important than that of the courts.

He said that the court presents the litigants with a win-lose scenario whereas in mediation, one has to create a win-win situation for the contending parties.

For making mediation a success, Kapadia called for judicial, bar and legislative reforms.

He underlined the need for good mediators who, besides being well trained and skillful, must have wisdom. He said at present there was no proper training of the mediators, particularly to handle commercial disputes.

Kapadia called for good training programmes for mediators, codification of the concepts of mediation in each sector and making them available to mediators who in turn would train others.

Justice Altamas Kabir of the Supreme Court said that judicial officers could not be faulted for delays because of the filing of large numbers of cases.

He said that a win-win situation that is provided by mediation also ensures continuation of relationship between the contending parties whereas the win-lose situation related to litigation spells termination of that relationship.

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