We're happy to answer any questions that you may have about our services, and to direct you to authoritative sources as required. Here are answers to some of our most commonly asked questions:
Although every case is unique, as long as a dispute is civil and does not involve criminal matters, mediation can be a viable form of dispute resolution. Mediation is a voluntary process in which a neutral, third-party (the mediator) helps disputants negotiate a settlement out-of-court. Our mediators employ widely accepted techniques in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to help the parties explore their perspectives and then solve their dispute.
Here are some of the key benefits to ADR:
Yes, once both parties have agreed to their terms of settlement in writing, it becomes legally-binding. Failure to comply with the negotiated terms of settlement is a breach of contract, which is enforceable by law. [Note: until there is a signed, written settlement agreement, no aspect of the mediation is legally-binding, or prejudicial to a court-based outcome.]
Consider your various options and ask your lawyer for his/her opinion, and consider whether the other party(ies) to your dispute will agree to mediation. In our experience, parties become increasingly motivated to mediate once they understand the actual cost and risk associated with resolving their dispute through litigation. Of course, there are many situations when mediation will not work (e.g., when there are threats or violence, when parties are expecting an outright victory over each other, when parties are unable negotiate with each other respectfully and within a common ethical framework, etc.)
Our experts will advise parties whether mediation may be appropriate to their situation during the initial, complimentary consultation.
In most cases mediation is voluntary. Mediation tends to work best when all parties are willing to participate, so:
If you have started a case with the Supreme Court you can serve the other person with a Notice to Mediate. If you have started a case with Provincial Court Small Claims, you can serve them with a Notice to Mediate for claims between $10,000 and $35,000. The Notice to Mediate requires the people involved in the conflict to attend mediation. If the other party does not attend mediation, you can file an Allegation of Default or Declaration of Default with the court.
We do not charge for the initial consultation with each party, and will provide a cost estimate based upon your specific requirements for mediation. If the parties agree to mediate, we will request a deposit ("retainer") to begin the mediation process. Although we normally host mediations at our offices in North Vancouver or online via Zoom, we can travel at-cost if institutional clients prefer to host sessions at their meeting facilities.
These are just some of the many reasons why mediation may be beneficial.