To Mediate or Not to Mediate?

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Mediation is a process in which parties meet with a mutually selected impartial, objective and neutral person who assists them in resolving their differences and disputes.

Mediation is becoming a popular way of quickly and cost effectively resolving disputes in Grande Prairie and elsewhere in Alberta. If the dispute has involved violence or abuse, mediation is probably not the best choice. However, if the parties involved are open to discussion, or even the possibility of discussion, mediation is a great option.

Typical issues solved by mediation include:

  • Personal injury (MVA accidents)
  • Employment disputes
  • Contractor disputes
  • Tenant-landlord issues
  • Divorce and Family Law disputes
  • Contested Estates
  • Disputes within large and medium and small organizations, both For Profit and Not For Profit.

Whether mediation is an effective course of action will come down to the Mediator you choose, and the willingness of the parties to participate genuinely and honestly and with a desire to resolve the problem, not simply to “win”. It’s important to note that a party can not be forced into mediation. A third-party person who is impartial and holds no stake in the case will lead the mediation, and once an agreement is signed off by both parties and in some cases a lawyer, the agreement is binding.

The mediator is not making a binding decision for you like a judge or arbitrator would, they are simply assisting the parties towards a resolution that works for them. A Court has limited remedies and usually cannot tailor a solution to a situation. Mediation allows parties to come to agreements, simple or complex, that truly meet all of their objectives in a satisfactory way. Even more important, people generally do what they agree to do, and generally resist doing that which they are ordered to do.

So what does mediation look like?

Meditation looks like a discussion around a table where all parties come with an open mind, a desire to reach a solution, and mutual respect. It is the mediator’s job to assist these parties by

  • laying out and sticking to basic ground rules of communication and dignity
  • keeping the parties focused on the task at hand and bringing them back to that task if they get off track
  • ensuring all parties are heard and feel heard by each other, by identifying points of agreement and disagreement.
  • preparing a report or contract for the parties that accurately reflects any agreement reached.

Other facts to know:

  • meditation is confidential and without prejudice, unlike court records which can be public
  • parties may commence mediation at any time, whether or not they have lawyers or their matters are before the Courts;
  • parties may exit mediation at anytime
  • mediation reduces legal costs but there are still fees involved
  • in the event that an agreement is not reached in a single session, as many sessions as required can be booked – though at some point you may need legal advice about litigation options and costs.

Can I Pick Any Mediator?

When parties decide to proceed with mediation, they both have to agree on a mediator. It is often best to get a mediator that is experienced in the area of law that your dispute falls into.

Hayes Fry Law is your law firm and we believe strongly in mediation. We offer full mediation services. As a part of our brand promise, Hayes Fry Law has a fierce devotion to offering a forward-thinking, educational and integrated approach to solving legal matters in a relaxed environment. Please call us at 780 831 7370 to book a mediation session or for any questions regarding the process.

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