Do you have a legal problem that you would prefer to keep private?

Would you like a resolution without delay?

Is reducing your expense to resolve this problem important to you?

Mediation may be the answer!

The traditional adversarial method of resolving a legal dispute usually involves: Hiring of legal counsel for each party at $200 to $300 per hour. Each party taking extreme positions in an attempt to create the “perfect case”  Each party to the action becomes entrenched in their respective positions now that it is part of a public record and they have a significant emotional and financial investment in the position. Significant effort and expense is then required to be expended by each opponent to dismantle the other party’s case and establish the other as untruthful. Denial and frustration set in and counsel decide that a trial is necessary. A trial date is set about 8 to 12 months into the future. The parties settle the case when a trial is imminent and they can no longer tolerate the emotional and financial strain. Occasionally, a trial does occur and a judge imposes a decision on the parties after making an assessment of who is believable, and in accordance with established rules of procedure, rules of law, and his or her own biases and perceptions.

What is mediation?

  • Mediation is a constructive non-adversarial solution-focused method used to resolve disputes.
  • It can help reduce the time, anxiety and expense of finding answers and implementing solutions.
  • Mediation provides you with an opportunity to meet with the person you are having a dispute with in a safe and confidential environment.
  • It overcomes barriers rather than creating them.

The Benefits of Mediation vs. Adversarial Method

  • Many studies of this method have concluded that Mediation has a high rate of success and that the majority of parties viewed the resulting settlement as fair.
  • Mediation is much faster, with results being achieved in less than 60 days.
  • Costs are significantly reduced.
  • Confidentiality is guaranteed in writing. Your dispute is not a matter of public record as in court proceedings.
  • The participants remain in control rather than giving away control over important decisions to lawyers and judges.
  • Solutions are often more creative than the orthodox approach used by courts.
  • Relationships are more often preserved rather than harmed by this process.
  • Stress and anxiety are significantly reduced. It is sometimes seen as therapeutic by the participants.
  • Mediation can help meet emotional needs by clearing communication and implementing solutions that cannot be “ordered” by a judge.

A party to a mediated dispute can withdraw at any time if they feel the process or the mediator isn’t working for them. Courts do not permit this.

The Ontario government is now promoting Mediation as the answer. On January 4th, 1999, the Province of Ontario instituted a pilot project in the Toronto and Ottawa courthouses. This project required certain types of cases to be mediated early on in the adversarial process. The results are so promising that the project was expanded to other courts and to other types of matters.

Windsor’s court is participating in the Mandatory Mediation program with respect to civil and estate matters. Robert M. Jutras has been a member of the Essex County Courthouse Roster of Mediators since the program was initiated in 2002.

Mediation Types

1. Business:

– Family Businesses
– Corporate
– Commercial
– Shareholder
– Partnership
– Franchise
– Contract Negotiation
– Contract Performance
– Breach of Contract

2. Family Matters:

– Separation and Divorce
– Cohabitation agreements
– Marriage contracts
– Parenting issues
– Residence and visitation
– Child support
– Education
– Spousal support
– Property division

3. Estates:

– Disputes over Will provisions
– Estate Planning issues
– Powers of Attorney management

4. Labour:

– Employer/employee
– Workplace conflict
– Dismissal
– Disciplinary

5. Real Estate and Property:

– Purchase and Sale disputes
– Lease disputes
– Condominium
– Construction problems
– Engineering
– Environmental
– Cooperative housing

6. Insurance:

– Personal injury
– Disability insurance
– Property insurance