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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

14. Lay forums


(1) If a court orders that the matter must be referred for mediation to a specified lay forum as  provided  for  in section 71 of  the Act, the clerk must, within three days of receipt of the order, in the manner determined by the court—
(a) refer the matter to a specific lay forum by means of a form which corresponds substantially with Part A of Form 5 of the Annexure;
(b) submit certified copies of all the relevant documentation relating to the matter, to the lay  forum;
(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 lay forum.


(2) After a lay forum has received the documentation referred to in subregulation (1), that lay forum  must within five days, appoint a person to act as chairperson, who must arrange a meeting within 10  days but not later than 15 days after receipt of the documentation by the lay forum by—
(a) setting the time, date and place of the meeting; and
(b) taking steps to ensure that all persons entitled to attend the meeting are notified within a  reasonable time, of the time, date and place of the meeting.


(3) No notice referred to in subregulation (2)(b) need 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 lay forum meeting.


(4) Where a lay forum meeting fails to take place, the chairperson must arrange for an alternative date and notify the persons entitled to attend the lay forum meeting accordingly.


(5) The chairperson of a lay forum must confer with the parties and endeavour to obtain an agreement or settlement in respect of the matter.


(6) Before entering into discussions at a lay forum, the parties to that lay forum must, subject to any directions given by the presiding officer of the court, decide whether the chairperson is to file—
(a) a full report of the meeting, including anything that the chairperson considers relevant to the matter; or
(b) a report that either sets out any agreement or settlement reached by the parties or states only that the parties did not reach agreement on the matter.


(7) The report referred to in subregulation (6), together with any agreement or settlement reached  by the lay forum, must be submitted to the clerk within 15 days after conclusion of the proceedings of the lay  forum, who must submit  it  to  the  court  for the court to make any agreement or settlement reached an order of the court.


(8) If a lay forum 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.


(9) The 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.