Arizona Summit Law School professor and founding faculty member Steven Gonzales was invited by the United Nations to assist the Industrial Court of Botswana on the development of the court’s alternative dispute resolution (ADR) system. Professor Gonzales will advise the court on effective mediation and arbitration policies and practices, as well as provide comprehensive mediation training for the entire Industrial Court of Botswana’s judiciary. The one-week initiative begins in early October.
Professor Gonzales, who is a former administrative law judge and accredited NGO representative to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, is an established ADR professional. He was selected to lead this initiative by the United Nations because of his professional experience and previous work with the Industrial Court of Botswana through Arizona Summit Law’s externship program, which began in 2013. Responding to the court’s request for assistance with this ADR initiative, the United Nations is sponsoring Professor Gonzales’ participation, and hopes to influence other African countries to implement similar courts and ADR systems.
“The United Nations is offering both Professor Gonzales and the Industrial Court of Botswana a beneficial opportunity that will undoubtedly help to improve the legal system in Botswana, providing a valuable alternative to litigation,” said Dean Mays, Arizona Summit Law School. “Over the years, our professors and students have worked to find ways to make a direct positive impact on communities by promoting access to justice in the United States and around the world. This initiative marks important progress.”
“I am honored that the United Nations called upon me to help establish an ADR system, which has provided valuable alternatives to litigation in the United States and in other international legal systems” said Professor Steven Gonzales, Arizona Summit Law School. “I am hopeful that in addition to providing new resources to the Botswana people, students at Arizona Summit Law School will have future opportunities to be involved in the implementation of the ADR system as a result of my involvement.”
The Industrial Court of Botswana has many similarities to our Western legal system, including a separate independent arm for the judiciary. Botswana’s judicial system also comprises a High Court and Court of Appeals, while the indigenous (Africans) are regulated under customary law. The Industrial Court of Botswana oversees labor law, immigration, migration, dispute resolution and international trade law. Establishing a comprehensive ADR system further enhances Botswana’s judicial system.