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Children's Act, 2005 (Act No. 38 of 2005)


Regulations relating to Children's Courts and International Child Abduction, 2010

Chapter III : Children's Courts

Part 2 : Investigations, Conferences and Forums

13. Family group conferences


(1) If a court orders that the matter must be referred to a family group conference as provided for in section 70 of the Act  for mediation, the presiding officer  of the court must appoint a person or organisation as provided for in subregulation (2), as facilitator of the family group conference.


(2) The facilitator of a family group conference may be any suitably qualified person, including, but  not  limited  to—
(a) a family advocate;
(b) a social worker;
(c) a social service professional; or
(d) a traditional leader.


(3) On receipt of an order as provided for in regulation 6(2)(a)(i) the clerk must, within three days, in the manner determined by the court—
(a) refer the matter to the facilitator by means of a form which corresponds substantially with Part A of Form 5 of the Annexure;
(b) submit all certified copies of all  the  relevant documentation  relating  to  the matter,  to  the facilitator;
(c) retain original documents relating to the matter;
(d) forward a copy of the referral to the parties; and
(e) notify the parties of the documents submitted to the facilitator.


(4) After a facilitator has received the documentation as provided for in subregulation (3), he or she  must convene a family group conference within 10 days but not later than 15 days after receipt of the  documentation by—
(a) setting the time, date and place of the conference; and
(b) taking steps to ensure that all persons entitled to attend the conference are notified within a reasonable time, of the time, date and place of the conference.


(5) No notice referred to in subregulation (4)(b) needs be given to any person whose whereabouts, after reasonable enquiries,  are unknown and failure to notify any person in accordance with that subregulation does not affect the validity of the proceedings of a family group conference.


(6) Where a family group conference fails to take place on  the  time, date and place determined in terms of subregulation (4), the facilitator must arrange for an alternative date and notify the persons entitled to attend the family group conference accordingly.


(7) The facilitator must confer with the parties and endeavour to obtain an agreement or settlement  in respect of the matter.


(8) Before entering into discussions at a family group conference, and subject to any directions given  by the presiding officer of the court, the parties must decide whether the facilitator is to file—
(a) a full report on the conference, including anything that the facilitator considers to be relevant to the matter; or
(b) a report that either sets out any agreement reached  by the parties or states only that the parties did not reach agreement on the matter.


(9) The report referred to in subregulation (8) and any agreement or settlement reached between the parties must be submitted  to the clerk within 15 days after conclusion of the family  group conference, who must submit it to the court for the court to make any agreement or settlement reached an order of the court.


(10) If a facilitator refers the matter back to the court for a hearing, that referral must be in writing on a form which corresponds substantially with Part B of Form 5 of the Annexure, stating the reasons why the matter was referred back.


(11) A court must, within five days from the date on which the matter was received back, order that the matter must be heard in court and the clerk must—
(a) within three days after that order, assign a date for the matter to be heard in court; and
(b) notify the parties involved in the matter on a form which corresponds substantially with Form 4 of the Annexure of the date, place and time of the hearing.