What is mediation?
Mediation is a process for resolution of disputes, and can be used to reach agreements between parties experiencing disputes in a number of different areas, including people experiencing family breakdown, business disputes and disputes over estates. Mediation is an out-of-court and confidential process, through which the parties to the dispute work with a neutral mediator to reach a “win-win” solution. As a neutral third party, the mediator will not impose a solution, but will work with the parties to reach a solution they can both agree to.
Some of the reasons people choose mediation to resolve their disputes are:
- The ongoing relationship between the parties is important, and they wish to ensure that the relationship is protected, despite the dispute;
- The parties wish to keep the dispute confidential. Court proceedings are generally not confidential and filed documents can be accessed by the public;
- The parties wish to retain control over the outcome and the decisions made rather than having a third party make those decisions for them;
- They wish to keep the costs associated with resolving their dispute down. As the cost of the mediator is usually shared, mediation can be quite cost-effective as compared to other methods of dispute resolution;
- The parties wish to reach a timely resolution of their dispute. Litigation through courts can be a very lengthy process as compared to mediation;
Is mediation right for me?
Mediation is an ideal dispute resolution process where both parties have a relatively good understanding of the information underlying the dispute, and ability to understand and analyze that information. In addition, mediation is a good fit for those individuals who are able to clearly articulate their wishes and beliefs. In relationships where there is an imbalance between the parties, whether in information, understanding or knowledge, mediation may not be the best option for dispute resolution. In addition, in family law cases, where there has been incidents of family violence, mediation may not be an appropriate mechanism for resolution.
Who attends mediation?
Often, mediation will take place between the parties and the mediator. In some situations, each of the parties may also have legal counsel present, although this is not required. As the mediator must remain neutral, the mediator will not provide any legal advice to the parties, but will typically advise each of the parties to obtain advice from a lawyer prior to mediation. A mediator may also recommend that the parties consult a lawyer during the mediation regarding any legal issue that comes up.
What happens if we reach a settlement?
If a settlement agreement is reached at mediation, the mediator will prepare a report documenting the agreement that was reached. The parties will then need to consult with counsel to draft formal settlement documents to conclude resolution of the dispute.
How can Strathcona Law Group help me with mediation?
We can provide services in two ways:
- As your legal counsel, any of the lawyers at Strathcona Law Group can assist in preparing you for mediation and providing advice during mediation, either in an advisory capacity (i.e. outside of the mediation process itself, where you would meet with one of our lawyers prior to mediation and then as necessary while mediation is ongoing), or as your counsel in the mediation, in which case we would also attend the mediation with you.
- Some of our lawyers also have mediation training, and can act as a neutral mediator between the parties to the dispute. In this capacity, we would not provide specific legal advice to either party.
The lawyers in our office who offer services as mediators are as follows:
In the event you wish to retain our services as a mediator, both parties would need to jointly contact our office. In the event we are contacted by only one party to retain our services, a conflict of interest may arise that would prevent us from assisting you as a mediator. Accordingly, should you wish to retain the services of one of our lawyers as a mediator, please let us know that when you first contact our office.