Legal proceedings can be long, expensive, and time consuming.There is an alternative or complementary process which may allow parties in a dispute to settle it faster and cheaper than going to trial:Mediation. Mediation is a voluntary settlement process in which the parties are assisted by a third party (the mediator) to negotiate a resolution. Mediators do not give legal advice, take sides, or impose decisions.
There are many benefits to attempting to mediate a dispute.Mediation allows the parties the flexibility of designing a solution that is tailored to their specific needs. It can resolve a dispute without going to court, at an early stage, and is generally far less expensive than paying counsel to prepare and attend trial. Frequently, the parties agree to share the cost of mediation. Mediation can save money and reduce stress.
Mediation is a private process and the parties can agree to keep the terms of a settlement confidential.What goes on at mediation is also privileged, which means that the positions the parties take cannot later be used against them if they are unable to settle.A mediator cannot be called as a witness in court.
Mediators are neutral. They do not give legal advice, do not make or impose decisions on the parties, and do not take sides in the mediation. Their role is to facilitate settlement discussions between the parties. Although emotions will run high from time to time, with the assistance of a skilled mediator, parties can often work out arrangements that resolve their dispute without the necessity of litigation. In mediation, parties take control and ownership of their solutions rather than having a third party, such as a judge or arbitrator, impose a solution upon them.
FH&P has two of our very own accredited mediators, Gillian Dougans, who specializes in legal disputes and workplace conflicts, and Heidi Taylor, our family mediator. Check out our following series on mediation to find out more about it, and to hear from our mediators!
Mediation Part 2: Jill Dougans
Jill Dougans has been working as a mediator since 2003, and is a member in good standing with the Roster Society now called MediateBC. In addition to being a trial lawyer since 1987 Jill obtained a Certificate of Conflict Resolution from the Justice Institute of BC in 2003. Jill’s training in mediation is continuous as she is also a skills coach at the JIBC in the Conflict Resolution Program. She has mediated a variety of situations, ranging from personal injury litigation to construction, commercial and employment issues.
Spotlight on: Andrea Meyes
This past March, FH&P Lawyers had the pleasure of welcoming Andrea Meyes into the team as an articling student.
FH&P lawyers’ Colin Flannigan gives guidelines on Tuesday Morning Law Talk on AM 1150 with Phil Johnson.
So you’ve been appointed Power of Attorney; what next? “Initially, forget the honor of being appointed” says Colin, “Focus, instead, on what the needs of the donor are. This includes financial responsibility, health, relationships, property, and other such affairs”.