An alternative to court: Mediation
There is a workable alternative to lengthy, expensive courtroom trials and law suits: mediation – also known as “Alternative Dispute Resolution” – can be the solution to your family law dispute or personal injury or ICBC insurance claim problem.
Mediation and Arbitration – Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Is there a way to resolve a legal problem without all the time and expense of taking it to court? In a word, yes.
It’s pretty common knowledge that B.C.’s court system is seriously backlogged and this contributes in large part to much of the time and expense of pursuing legal action.
For a great many legal matters, however, there is another way to resolve them. Called Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR, it encompasses two methods, mediation and arbitration. We will deal with mediation here – for information on arbitration click the link.
In mediation the disputing parties appoint a third-party neutral mediator specially trained in dispute resolution and knowledgeable in the subject matter involved in the dispute. Lawyers for the parties can be present or consulted at any time. The mediator does not impose a solution, rather facilitates the discussion to help the disputing parties arrive at a mutually agreed settlement.
More information on mediation can be found at the BC Government website: http://www.ag.gov.bc.ca/dro/mediation-in-bc/index.htm
Mediation has been successfully used to resolve disputes involving a wide range of issues, from family law matters such as maintenance, child support, custody and access, asset division, injury payments, insurance disputes, workplace matters, various commercial or business matters and a great many others.
Mediation is becoming a much more common way to resolve legal disputes without resorting to the courts, thus speeding up the process. Because it takes place outside of the court system it also reduces the expense.
Mediation also offers the parties other benefits:
• It’s your decision — The parties involved in a dispute have to agree to the settlement it must be acceptable to them;
• Focuses on the problem, not the people —Personal feelings or emotions often become entangled with the legal issues. A skilled mediator can help to separate the personal dimension from the actual issues in dispute. Tension is reduced and a resolution is more achievable;
• Knowledge of the matter — The mediator`s knowledge of the matter in dispute and the relevant legal issues can assist the parties to clearly understand the facts of the situation;
• Relationships can be preserved — It is quite common that the people involved in a dispute may have to continue to deal with one another in some way after the dispute is resolved. Mediators try to avoid polarizing the parties, thus mediation can help to preserve continuing relationships.
• Time — A mediation can be organized and commenced in a much shorter period of time than a court case and the resolution of the problem can be arrived at more quickly;
• Expense — By resolving a dispute quickly, people can save time and money and reduce emotional stress;
• Privacy — Mediation takes place in private. A court case does not. Details of the dispute and resolution are between the parties and need not be publicly disclosed;
• An open atmosphere — The informal setting and atmosphere of mediation can improve communication between the parties and avoid the tensions and stresses of an adversarial process;
The Mediator’s Training
Mediators are specifically trained to lead the process to a successful conclusion. Their training teaches them how to deal with difficult situations. A mediator is also trained to be a neutral facilitator and act as a guide to the parties to arrive at a satisfactory solution and to use his knowledge and experience to develop a workable resolution.
Find Out If Mediation Is Right for You
Contact my office or email me for a free consultation on the specifics of your situation.