Essay by martini01University, Bachelor'sA, October 2008

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An ounce of mediation is worth a ton of litigationJoseph GrynbaumA pair of Christchurch philanthropists, the trustees of the charitable trust Gamma Foundation, have recently donated $1 million to the University of Otago, to help establish Legal Issue Centre, New Zealand first research centre focusing on improving the legal system. "The purpose of the Legal Issues Centre is to carry out research on legal issues relating to how a more accessible, affordable and efficient legal system can be created for the benefit of all citizens and to carry out research on how courts can best ascertain the truth and arrive at a fair and just outcome." The idea of setting up the Legal Issue Centre came during the personal five year legal battle against an agriculture chemical company to pay $900,000 for damage building which they leased from Gamma Foundation. In year 2001 the company vacate the building and left the building damaged by chemicals and mistreatment.

The plaintiff has found important clause in the lease agreement which was ignored. All attempts to get settlement short of legal action failed, so he sued. The plaintiff eventually won this case and has received 85 per cent of their claim. So what was the reason for donating the $1 million to help established the Legal Issues Centre? "This five year battle was "characterized by repeated delays cased by lawyers, and an impression the system did nothing to discourage a lack of candour and distortion on the part of lawyers and witnesses". The plaintiff said:" While we eventually won the case after putting in a lot of hard work, we came to the conclusion that the way the legal system and many lawyers operated was very unsatisfactory." They also have been influenced by High Court Judge, Justice John Hansen at the University...