How things are unfolding in the South African world of Integrative Law
In September 2012 after my first Skype conversation with Kim Wright, author of Lawyers as Peacemakers, events happily transpired to bring Kim to South Africa so that I could learn about the global Integrative Law Movement and introduce more South Africans to it. Of course Integrative Law is not specific to any country or region – it is simply the name for a global movement of awakening professionals throughout the legal system who are asking questions such as:
“What if we aren’t all separate and at odds with each other? What if the corrections system with its focus on retribution is ultimately dehumanizing and damaging to all of us? Maybe we will always have problems and disputes and accidents and crimes but is there a better way to address these problems than suiting up in armour and hacking away at each other, symbolically or otherwise? But how do we get from here to there?”*
* the beautifully phrased questions are by Sheila Boyce, reproduced in Lawyers as Peacemakers by J Kim Wright
In South Africa, we’ve long had a tradition of viewing conflict holistically and of resolving matters in a way that takes the whole community into account. However, indigenous conflict resolution methodology (or African Jurisprudence, which is underpinned by principles such as Ubuntu) has been replaced by the RD Law & English systems. Therefore, like much of the West, SA has moved firmly towards an individualistic, and very much rights-based jurisprudence. The problem is that this has taken us far away from viewing ourselves as part of an interconnected community.
In my own presentation at this conference, I mentioned something Martin Luther King said in 1963:
“Over 50 years have passed and now we are in the midst of another crisis, a crisis based on spiritual illiteracy. In today’s worldview there is an impression the universe is not an interconnected, living system, and that life can be exploited. We’ve lost our sense of service to life itself.”
How the Lawyers as Peacemakers conference came about
During Kim Wright’s 2012 visit to SA, we did a talk at UNISA and the professor introducing us was Prof John Faris who runs IDRA, the Institute for Dispute Resolution in Africa. It led to Prof Faris travelling to the Arizona the following year to take part in the Lawyers as Peacemakers conference there, and finally, 3 years later, led to Prof Faris hosting a Lawyers As Peacemakers Conference at UNISA in October 2015.
Despite October 2015 finding me heavily pregnant at 33 weeks, I knew I had to attend this event – my last trip before I stop flying. I am so glad I did. It was an amazingly fulfilling experience to see the effect of the work the Centre for Integrative Law has done over the last 3 years and to have a chance to reflect on the progress. It has often been incredibly lonely and a tough journey business wise – to talk of a new consciousness in the law and bringing values and humanity back to the profession, to talk of lawyers as healers – often I am met with blank gazes. Some of the projects I’ve initiated have been very successful, but I suppose I always carry with me the ones that did not come to life, the things that didn’t get funded and the events that never came together!
Although the CIL has held some very successful meetings of SAILA – the South African Integrative Lawyers’ Association, this hasn’t yet become a viable community and certainly not from a financial standpoint…(it will I trust this – particularly after the Lawyers as Peacemakers conference) but as I chatted to lawyers I’ve got to know over the last 4 years and heard where people are coming from now and the work they’re doing, I realised the shifts are enormous. The CIL has achieved much of what I had hoped when I started it and I need to spend a little time acknowledging this, not only seeing the long road lying ahead in terms of all I would still like to achieve.
photo: Prof Faris talks to Pritima Osman from the Justice Department – who works with the rights of the Child. I have work to do with Pritima – she’s a mover and shaker but does so behind the scenes.
Some of the CIL milestones I’m reflecting on:
SEP 2012: Amanda Lamond & Dr Kim Wright facilitate the First Integrative Law Conference in South Africa with 40 attorneys, advocates, prosecutors and academics.
SEP 2012 Amanda Lamond & Dr Kim Wright present at UNISA; meet with Judge Edwin Cameron; meet with Nic Swart, Acting CEO of the Law Society of South Africa
FEB 2013: Presentation by Amanda Lamond to LEAD and LSSA members at annual strategy session, on invitation of Nic Swart, CEO of LSSA/ LEAD.
FEBR 2013 Prof John Faris of UNISA attends Integrative Law Conference in Arizona on invitation of Dr Kim Wright
MAR 2013 Collaborative Divorce Trainings (first ever in SA) held in Cape Town and Johannesburg by Pauline Tesler Director of the Integrative Law Institute (San Francisco). 37 attorneys trained
MARCH 2013 Neuro-literacy for Lawyers: the science of conflict by Pauline Tesler,. Held in Johannesburg (approximately 80 attendees) and Cape Town (30 attendees)
AUGUST 2013 SAILA launch – the South African Integrative Lawyers Association holds its first meeting (6 meetings held btw 2013 & 2014)
JAN 2014 Amanda & CIL guest-speaker Dr Kim Wright, present 3 day Integrative Law Program to 25 Legal Aid Justice Centre managers
FEB/MAR 2014 SAILA holds its 6th meeting in Cape Town. Interest shown in launching chapters of SAILA in Johannesburg.
FEB/MAR 2014 CIL presents Collaborative divorce training (second time in SA) in Johannesburg and Cape Town by Dr J Kim Wright
MARCH 2014 CIL guestspeaker Dr Kim Wright speaks at Miller du Toit Family Law Conference and UNISA on Integrative Law & Collaborative Practice.
APRIL 2014 NACP – NATIONAL ACADEMY OF COLLABORATIVE PRACTICE established in Cape Town.
A lot of projects late 2014 and early 2015 did not come to fruition – but in September 2015 the CIL presented Finding New Ways for Women to Lead in Law to extraordinary feedback and reviews. Please see the video on the CIL’s home page. We’re now launching WOLELA: Women Leading in Law, a new national community of women lawyers seeking to develop themselves professionally and personally over the course of 2016. And Finding New Ways will run in 2016 in both JHB and CT.
LAWYERS AS PEACEMAKERS – UNISA OCTOBER 2015
Bev Loubser talks to Chamundai Curran.
At this event, it was a privilege to see lawyers I’ve connected with over the last 4 years, who have supported the mission and vision of the CIL, stand up and talk about the legal work and projects they’re now running. These are all extraordinary individuals who are finding the courage to do things differently and bring light & new thinking to the areas of law in which they practice. They include:
Robert DeRooy, mediator and lawyer in Cape Town who’s developing visual contracts for domestic workers as well as drafting contracts using systems thinking and non-adversarial approaches – very pioneering work.
That’s me talking to Robert De Rooy.
Gaby McKellar, magistrate at the Wynberg Court who does extraordinary caring and compassionate work with families and children. I gave her talk a standing ovation!
Bev Loubser – trained in Collaborative Divorce, helping establish this new methodology as a viable and family-saving way of approaching divorce.
Jacques Joubert, mediator who dedicates enormous time to teaching mediation skills and showing litigators that there is another way.
Sheena Jonker, a restorative justice peacemaker who does amazing work whenever there is conflict in any community, she jumps in and helps – often in very volatile situations where her own safety is at risk.
It was also a privilege to meet Chamundai Curran, a lawyer turned spiritual healer from Australia, who I hosted for an introductory session (and healing) with a few lawyers the following week in Cape Town.
And of course to finally meet Peggy Hora, the judge who is famous for pioneering specialist Drug Courts in the US. I have long wished these courts would be established in South Africa, removing from the criminal justice system, those drug addicted offenders who have a good chance of rehabilitation.
And of course, it’s always like a home-coming to spend time, though this was very very little time, with Kim Wright, who is the global connector of people committed and interested in Integrative Law everywhere.
It was eye opening to hear Judge Bosielo share his forward-thinking views on integrative law & it gave me much to hope for in our SA justice system if we have more judges like him.
Talking to Judge Bosielo, with Nic Swart, director of the LSSA behind us.
I am grateful to Prof Faris and his team at UNISA – as they are the only other organisation in South Africa currently using the term “Integrative Law, other than the CIL. Thank you for bringing together so many open hearts and minds under one roof at the Lawyers as Peacemakers conference so that we can continue to inspire and encourage each other to bring a new consciousness to the legal system.
It is now time I step back for a few months, despite being in the middle of birthing WOLELA – Women Leading in Law – because I am about to birth my own little boy due on 1 December.
There is so much I still want to achieve with the Centre for Integrative Law, but above all, I know I need to be a role model for the concept of integration. And right now, that means putting my family first for a while.
With thanks to all that have helped get the Centre for Integrative Law where it is today, and all those who work tirelessly to heal the legal profession and help the world see lawyers in a new light.
(PS. for those who don’t know, my name happens to mean “the worthy of love lawyer”. Pretty apt!)