Are you looking for alternative dispute resolution in Ottawa? In the old days, disputes were resolved with a stone or stick. Since sticks and stones could break your bones, they were an effective – if painful – way of resolving disputes. But when sticks gave way to swords, the way of the sword was a bit too final. So then came the lawyers. Throughout, in addition to lawyers, other people helped to resolve disputes. Village elders, religious leaders, family patriarchs – it was always understood that friendly people with authority could sort out conflict quite effectively. These people were often free, too. Those were the days.
Today, the people providing alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services are not free. But compared to the cost of litigation, they practically are. And ADR comes in a number of flavours.
First, there is non-binding mediation. The parties get in a room with a mediator and try their best to agree. If they manage to agree, while the mediator helps them along, great – they are done. They saved themselves a ton of time and money and settled their dispute. The difficulty, of course, arises when the parties have locked horns and can’t agree no matter what. The mediator, generally, has no power to compel the parties either way.
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Mediation works best when it is intended as a negotiation, so both parties come to the table intending to reach a mutually agreeable result in the dispute resolution process. If you get a mediator who is an expert in the field of dispute, the mediator may be able to guide the mediation and resolve the dispute. If the mediator also happens to be a legal counsel, they might be able to provide the parties with the outline of the likely result of litigation. The knowledge of the likely outcomes might help the parties to adjust their expectations and agree on a resolution.
The other kind of mediation is court-ordered or mandatory for some other reason (for example, some workplaces might insist on mediation). Even if the mediation is non-binding, the parties’ behavior during the mediation might bear on the outcome of the court case, if it comes to pass.
Alternative Dispute Resolution Ottawa | It Saves Time And Money
Yet another alternative to dispute resolution is arbitration. The difference between an arbitrator and a mediator is that the mediator is there to make the parties agree. It may be easier for the parties to agree on something that roughly corresponds to the legal norms, but a mediated agreement only needs to work for both parties and not be illegal or unconscionable. It does not matter that one party may have gotten a better deal in court.
An arbitrator, by contrast, makes a decision for the parties – hopefully, a fair and reasonable one – based on the parties’ input and circumstances. The arbitration decision may be final and binding (where the parties agree beforehand that whatever the arbitrator decides will bind them and that the dispute stops there) or – obviously – not binding. The outcome of the non-binding mediation may subsequently impact the court decision or order of costs – if one of the parties had been behaving unreasonably throughout. The binding arbitration is supposed to resolve the issue for good.
Negotiation With Mediation And Arbitration
When choosing a person to help resolve your dispute, note that the ADR Institute of Ontario maintains a directory of Ontario Dispute Resolution professionals, people who have obtained proper dispute resolution certification. The list is available sorted by the area of dispute (employment, family, etc.) and by region.
The ultimate difference, however, when you are choosing whether to go with the lawyer, a mediator or an arbitrator is where you are positioned. If your position is one of strength – go
with an arbitrator. If the law, justice, and gods of frivolous lawsuits are all aligned on your – no doubt winning – side, heck, don’t just go for arbitration, make it a binding one.
Ottawa Dispute Resolution Process
If you don’t care all that much about the outcome, a mediator is your poison. Personally, I don’t suggest you pin your hopes on mediation if you are passionately invested in the dispute. If it is, say, the question of who gets the kids it gets complicated. This happens when and you and your ex are at each other’s throats. Then mediation is likely to leave you frustrated. A mediator can’t force the sides to come to an agreement. A hotly contested and emotional issue can get mediated. Then both parties tend to come back frustrated and with their issue unresolved.
Since I do family law, one thing I hear over and over from clients is, “Yeah, we went into mediation. Nothing doing. So, can you really go get ‘em now?” Mediation is perfect when your object is to work out details and ensure nothing gets missed, but you already agree in principle.
But sometimes you are out of ammunition. However, you can’t give up the fight that you are so painfully losing – get a lawyer. When you are gearing up for a real fight, you need to get ready. You arm yourself with the sharpest, nastiest, and most brutal thing that you can afford. In a word – a lawyer.
In conclusion, our lawyers can help you with alternative dispute resolution in Ottawa. Also, you can learn more about Ottawa family law by seeing our videos.
Author: Alistair Vigier is the CEO of ClearWay Law