Mediation Group

What is mediation?

“Mediation” is an informal process of dispute resolution. Parties choose to engage a mediator to assist with conflict resolution.  The process is directed by the parties who have more control over the outcome than they might have, for example, by going to court.

What are the benefits of mediation?

Why mediation?

The primary benefit of mediation is the parties have more control over the process and outcome. This control is almost always lost when a court is allowed to make decisions for you.

Another important benefit is that mediation can help preserve important relationships that can be lost through more formal legal processes. Because it is cooperative and collaborative, parties – particularly in workplace, business and family disputes – find mediation less acrimonious than formal processes through administrative law or civil litigation.

There are many other benefits to mediation, including:

  • It is less expensive than trial.
  • It is not as adversarial.
  • It is quicker.
  • It is more flexible.
  • It is accessible.
  • It is effective.
  • It is less formal and allows the parties to be more engaged.
  • It remains confidential, as opposed to a judgment.
  • It is a win-win process – there is no real winner or loser – rather a mutually agreed upon compromise.

FAQ About Mediation

What can be mediated?

Any dispute can be mediated.  The list includes:

  • workplace conflict;
  • disputes between business partners;
  • family disputes;
  • disputes over estates;
  • even issues over how to care for elderly family members;
  • regulatory disputes involving principles of administrative law; and
  • filed civil actions on any issue.

When should I mediate?

Generally, the sooner the better.  When a dispute is mediated shortly after it arises, the chances of optimal resolution is much great: the parties’ differences have not had a chance to fester, the situation is generally more fluid, and the parties have more resolution options available to them.

What does a mediator do?

Mediators help facilitate a resolution based on the parties’ needs and goals. They help communicate and collaborate to build an outcome satisfactory to those involved in the dispute.

Is mediation confidential?

Yes. Confidentiality is a critical element of effective mediation because it allows a candid and informal exchange of information.  Information shared during the process is not to be discussed outside the mediation.  Both the mediators and the participants must agree that they will respect the confidentiality before the mediation session begins.

Is mediation binding?

The process itself is not binding, but if you come to a resolution and an agreement is executed this agreement is binding.

 

How successful is mediation?

A survey conducted by Mediation BC in 2015 confirms an 80% success ratio for mediations. One of the main reasons mediation produces such good results is that the decision making authority is placed in the hands of the people it matters to the most – the parties feel empowered to negotiate effectively.

FAQ About Mediators

What does a mediator do?

Mediators help facilitate a resolution based on the parties’ needs and goals. They help communicate and collaborate to build an outcome satisfactory to those involved in the dispute.

How do I choose a mediator?

This process can be difficult. It need not be someone who knows the area of law in dispute. You should research the potential mediator’s background and don’t be shy about calling them to ask about the mediation style. You need to feel comfortable they are a neutral facilitator.

Does a mediator have to be a lawyer?

No. Mediators are specially trained professionals, who are not necessarily lawyers. Some certified mediators are lawyers, but a lawyer cannot be both an advocate and a mediator on the same matter.

Who are the people who may attend a mediation session and what are their roles?

The parties in the mediation along with the mediator can discuss who should be invited to the mediation. The possibilities include financial advisors, counsellors, confidantes, support persons, and experts – to name a few.

Do I need a lawyer for mediation?

Mediators are not legal advisors. You may want independent legal advice to help you understand the legal issues and your legal rights.

FAQ About the Mediation Process

Where does a mediation take place?

Hosting a mediation can cost money and so you need to think about where it should take place. Wherever that is, the parties need to feel comfortable. More recently, disputes are being mediated online or by teleconference.

How much does a mediation cost and who pays for it?

There are a number of factors that can play a role in the cost of mediation. Including the length of the mediation, location of the mediation and any agreement between the parties as to who might pay.

What does the mediation process look like?

All mediations are different and so the process from start to finish can look different. Usually, however, the process includes having private meetings or calls with the mediator.  These calls can clarify issues and sensitivities of the parties.

Often you then exchange mediation briefs sharing your position with the other side.

On mediation day there can be further discussion on process.

There are usually multiple rooms at a mediation to allow space for the parties and to allow private consideration of the issues.

Negotiations take place over time and then hopefully an executed binding agreement is reached.

How long will the mediation process take?

It really depends upon the issues in dispute and the number of parties involved. It can resolve in just a few hours or the process can take days.

What is the next step if an agreement can’t be reached?

Often times parties turn to or back to the litigation process. It is a more costly approach and so sometimes this, in and of itself, can bring about a settlement. If not, then a second or third mediation is always possible. Sometimes you can even mediate one or two of the multiple issues that may be in dispute.

Is mediation for you?

Following are a number of questions that can help you decide if mediation is the right path for you.

  • Do you have an interest in maintaining an ongoing productive relationship (business, marital or otherwise) with the other party after settlement?
  • Are you frustrated by the time and expense involved to bring a matter to trial?
  • Do you want to bring closure to a stressful situation in a controlled and safe process?
  • Are you interested in taking a cooperative and collaborative approach to resolving your issue?
  • Are you open to candidly discussing the matters at issue in a confidential environment?
  • Is confidentiality important to you?
  • Are you interested in a process where you retain control and have a say in the outcome?

If you can answer YES to any of these questions, mediation may be right for you.

About Kim Jakeman

After more than 26 years of conflict resolution experience as counsel, I am now offering my services as a rostered mediator of Mediate BC.

 

I draw on the unique insights, perspectives and skills I have cultivated in my legal practice. My background experience and understanding of the nuances of litigation gives me the foundation to appreciate the importance of the mediation process in resolving disputes.

As a mediator, I am people and outcome focused and unflinchingly impartial. In the role of mediator I actively listen, find common ground and shared interests, and help facilitate supportable and lasting agreements.

For further information on how I can assist you reach resolution through mediation please contact me at 604.895.2817 or kjakeman@harpergrey.com.

 

 

Harper Grey LLP is a leading law firm in Western Canada. Founded over 100 years ago, we help clients navigate complex legal issues, guiding them towards dispute resolution and successful outcomes.

The foregoing contains some general legal information, based on the law of British Columbia. Readers should consult a lawyer to obtain specific legal advice about their particular situation.