Mediation of disputes related to medical practice


The objectives of of of SAMLA include, amongst others:

  • advancing the inter-relationships between medicine and law,
  • promoting excellence in medico-legal practice through dialogue and mutual understanding between members of the involved professions, and
  • promoting public interest in respect of the rights to life, dignity, freedom of expression and equality

Within the fields of medicine and law, mediation is one alternate resolution mechanism through which disputes related to medical practice may be achieved. Mediation is “a structured, voluntary, non-binding, without prejudice and confidential process, commencing after an agreement to mediate has been signed, and in which participants with settlement authority, assisted by a neutral person (the mediator), self-determine a negotiated outcome” (University of Cape Town Faculty of Law, 2016). SAMLA recognises mediation as an increasingly important dispute resolution mechanism in the South African medico-legal context. For parties, it is often a more flexible, less costly and quicker process than the formal legal process and allows for a range of possible solutions. In mediation, the parties are empowered to express, on an equal footing and mutually respectful environment, their experience of a particular health event which has caused harm.

SAMLA does not provide training in mediation, but is currently running two pilot projects to assess the efficacy of mediation in the medico-legal sphere and to assess the validity of the guidelines for medico-legal mediation that SAMLA has developed. Through their involvement in these pilot projects, trained mediators have had the opportunity hone their skills in medico-legal mediation and to contribute to the evaluation of the projects..

SAMLA makies available to disputing parties the names of mediators who have met accreditation requirements.




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