Non-criminal dispute resolution in South Africa’s criminal justice system: Proposals for reform

Authors: Navilla Somaru and Christa Rautenbach

ISSN: 1996-2118
Affiliations: BA Law, LLB (KZN), LLM (NWU; B Iuris (cum laude), LLB (cum laude), LLM, LLD (former PU for CHE). Professor, Faculty of Law, North-West University (Potchefstroom).
Source: South African Journal of Criminal Justice, Volume 33 Issue 3, p. 646 – 669


The National Prosecuting Authority has issued a comprehensive document containing policy directives that are available only to prosecutors. This document makes provision for non-criminal dispute resolution mechanisms in the form of diversions and informal mediations where the offender is an adult. It seems as if a large number of less severe cases are disposed of in this way every year. The directives are not in the public domain, and their scope and application are shrouded in a cloud of secrecy. This contribution analyses the alternative dispute mechanisms of diversion and informal mediation available to prosecutors, which are referred to as non-criminal dispute resolution mechanisms, with the aim to propose ways to effect reform in this area.