Jan 31, 2017
Ontario’s Mandatory Mediation Program in civil litigation was put into place in 1999 to help people settle their cases early in the litigation process in order to save money and time.
The program is used in Toronto, Ottawa and Windsor for certain civil litigation issues only. It is not used, for example, in family law cases.
Mediation is a less formal atmosphere than a trial before a judge and can result in quicker resolutions to issues that parties are having during litigation. Mediation promotes improved communications and problem-solving rather than adversarial arguments seen in the court system.
In Mandatory Mediation, a mediator from the private-sector (not a judge), is selected by agreement of the parties. There is a roster of mediators, however it is not required that the party select from this list.
The mediation must take place within 6 months of the filing of the first defence in the case. Typically, your civil litigation lawyer would attend the mediation with you. However, a lawyer may not be there in your place; the disputing parties must both be present at mediation.
The mediation itself is a confidential process and any information presented or words spoken during the mediation must remain private. The mediator than guides the parties through the issues they are having and explores resolution options with them while hearing from both parties.
Mandatory Mediation in civil litigation cases vary in length. Some require only one short session, while other cases may require a few sessions. The standard time for each session is three hours, however the session may be shorter or longer than this. The mediator may also conclude that the mediation process is not worthwhile or having the intended effect and cancel mediation.
A civil litigation lawyer can help you in a Mandatory Mediation by advising you about the program, helping to choose a mediator, preparing and submitting necessary documents and providing legal and strategic advice during the mediation session.
It is the intent of a mediation session to resolve the differences between the parties and come up with a binding agreement. However, some mediation sessions are effective even without this if they move the parties closer to resolution or past particularly troublesome problems.
If you think the program may be right for your civil litigation case, you should talk to a Niagara civil litigation lawyer today. The Civil Litigation team at Chown Cairns law firm has years of experiencing practicing Mediation cases and can help save you time, money and stress.