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Ontario|Arbitration / Mediation
503 What is mediation & when is it appropriate? Mediation is the process of trying to solve disagreements between people or companies without going to court. It is a form of negotiation that is chaired by a neutral person, called the mediator. The mediator has no personal interest in the outcome of the mediation, and is there on the agreement of all the parties.
The mediator is a trained professional who has learned the skill of helping people who have a disagreement to listen to one another, to understand the disagreement from one another's perspective and to help them work out solutions that are tailored to meet their needs.
The mediation can take place with or without the parties' lawyers being present. Whether the parties' lawyers will attend the mediation is a decision that can be made by the parties and their lawyers together.
If the parties are able to solve their disagreement with the assistance of the mediator, they can write up the agreement in the form of a contract with their lawyers.
- When is mediation appropriate?Mediation is appropriate when the people or the companies with the disagreement have decided that they want to try and reach an agreement without having a decision made for them by a court. Mediation is not appropriate when there is some reason for one of the parties not to settle. That may be the case where the disagreement is a test case on a subject that no court has decided. Mediation may not be appropriate where one of the parties has far greater resources that might result in the weaker party making a bad deal.
In family disputes, mediation is usually not recommended where there has been a history of domestic violence. However, if these persons want mediation, attendance with their lawyers is a good idea.
The three most common reasons why people choose to mediate instead of going to court are:
1. The parties get to reach their own agreement, instead of allowing a judge to do so;
2. The cost of mediating is far less than going to court; and
3. Mediation can take place quickly, whereas going to trial could take years.
If you feel your situation would best be resolved through mediation, you should speak with your lawyer about selecting a mediator. You can also find a mediator on Legal Line .