Mediation is growing fast as an alternative to court. Not only in resolving civil disputes such as ICBC claims, workplace disputes, estate disputes and business disputes to name just a few, but in all aspects of human conflict. In Small Claims Court, mediation is often the first step in the court process. Also, under the recent Family Law Act, mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution “ADR” is encouraged as an alternative and preferred way to resolve family disputes.
It is important to clarify what is mediation. Mediation is an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process, which is used to resolve conflict between parties. The mediation process is a process by which a neutral third party, the “Mediator,” assists parties to resolve their dispute and reach a voluntary settlement of the issues in dispute between them. A mediator is not a judge, rather a mediator is a facilitator who assists parties in negotiating a fair settlement of their differences. By using a variety of different techniques a mediator can assist parties in coming up with their own ways of resolving their dispute.
Some of the advantages of using mediation for conflict resolution are as follows:
- Mediation is a non adversarial approach to conflict resolution thereby preserving relationships;
- Mediation can result in a creative resolution to a dispute that can work for all parties, as opposed to having a judge make a decision that one party or both parties may not be happy with;
- Mediation is a quicker process than the court process;
- Settlements derived through mediation tend to be followed more readily than decisions imposed on a party;
- Mediation is far cheaper than litigating a dispute in court.
It is my experience that over 50% of mediations we perform end with a settlement of the dispute between the parties. It is not uncommon for parties to enter into mediation with frowns and leave with smiles. It is my view that in almost all circumstances mediation should be attempted prior to the commencement of any court litigation. However, all parties need to be committed to the mediation process for mediation to be truly effective. Mediation can be used whenever there is a conflict between parties even if court is not contemplated. Some of these areas could be conflict within a family, disputes in the workplace, disputes between neighbors, disputes between clients and service providers, etc.
Should you have any questions on mediation as an alternative to court please give us a call at 604-449-7779 or if you prefer send us an email.