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December 17, 2015
Question: What is the function of the Family Guidance Committee?
Answer: In relation to family law, the only mode of mediation is through the Family Guidance Committee. The commencement of most family cases must be referred here. The committee is made up of several counsellors with mediation/counselling training. They are not legally trained. Their job is to assist the parties to either reconcile or amicably resolve the issue(s) in dispute. Notice is given to the parties to attend the meeting. The counsellor can ask for a number of meetings to give the parties time to seek legal advice, or reconsider any proposed settlement.
Question: If the parties agree to certain conditions in the committee meetings, how can they protect their rights?
Answer: Any agreement reached within the Family Guidance Committee meetings can be drafted into documentary form, and signed by both parties before a judge. The resulting judgment is legally binding on the parties and can be enforced as required through the courts.
Question: What if one party refuses to attend?
Answer: In the event that one party refuses to attend a meeting called by the Family Guidance Committee, or the counselor determines that an agreement cannot be reached, a "no objection letter" is issued to enable the parties to progress court proceedings.