Ontario Law Firm Experienced in Both Mandatory and Voluntary Mediation

Stratford lawyers serving as your mediator or mediation counsel

When direct negotiation between parties fails, mediation is another way to settle disputes or lawsuits outside of court. A neutral third party — the mediator — helps the disputing parties arrive at a solution that works for them.

Mediators do not decide cases or impose settlements. Although agreements reached are legally binding.

Benefits to mediation

Ever since Ontario introduced mandatory mediation for civil, non-family actions in 1999, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), as it is known, has become an integral part of the litigation process. Indeed, voluntary mediation may be appropriate for some major family legal matters, such as divorce.

ADR is considered successful because it enables parties to resolve their disputes as quickly as possible, and with lower emotional and monetary costs.

Mediation can be a good approach when both parties have had — and would continue to value — a working relationship. It is also a preferable option for those who need to have their matter handled discreetly. All mediation discussions are kept private. Only the resulting agreement needs be registered with the court.

Some matters must first be tried under the Ontario Mandatory Mediation Program

Ontario’s Mandatory Mediation Program is designed to help parties involved in non-family civil litigation and estates matters attempt to settle their cases pre-trial. It is estimated more than 90 percent of all lawsuits now settle before getting to the trial stage.

The court imposes case management guidelines, consisting of strict timelines that advance a case through the pretrial and trial process. Under Rule 75.1, contested estates, trusts and “substitute decisions matters”  (e.g., who acts as a proxy for those with diminished mental capacities) are referred to mandatory mediation.

Mediation often proves to be the best way to go

Certain civil actions, such as family law cases, are excluded from mandatory mediation. But mediation does not have to be mandatory to be the best way for you to resolve your issue.

Mediation has proven successful when applied to a variety of issues between two parties, including:

  • Parties to a divorce
  • Business partners
  • Employers and employees
  • Parents and children
  • Domestic partners
  • Students and teachers
  • Beneficiaries of an estate
  • Neighbors
  • Businesses and contractors or vendors

Indeed, mediation can be appropriate for family law, business contracts, property law, agricultural law and farming issues.

Mediation and divorce

Divorce is not required to submit to mediation, but it can often prove to be the most direct and least costly route to effect such a separation.

If your divorce case involves further issues (e.g., spousal support, child custody, division of property), Ontario law will require you to attend a mandatory information session that covers:

  • The legal process of separation
  • Other options available for resolving your differences
  • The impact of separation on your children
  • Resources on how to cope with problems arising from separation

What you can expect of Parlee Law offices

Parlee Law Offices will be there for you every step of the way.

We can help you determine what matters most to you. We outline the mediation process and what will be expected of you. We help you envision the best result you can hope for, as well as what might be the worst. We discuss with you the counterparty’s likely goals and main concerns and how we might address them, as well as what will happen if the case does not settle at mediation.

We can help you choose a mediator , as well as provide you with sound legal and strategic advice during the mediation process.

If yours is a mandatory mediation case, we can ensure you are in full compliance with Ontario law, help you prepare and submit a Statement of Issues. And of course, we will attend all mediation sessions to ensure we thoroughly understand your counterparty’s position and can better suggest strategies.

We will protect your legal interests in any agreement reached

When your case settles, we will review the agreement to ensure it meets your interests and is legally binding. We will also be sure the defending party complies with Ontario law by filing a notice with the court within 10 days of agreement’s signing.

Lawsuits that do not settle at mediation must continue through the court process.

Contact a knowledgeable mediator or mediation counselor today

Bringing more than 35 years’ legal experience, Parlee Law Offices’ Principal Paul Parlee is qualified to serve your mediation needs, either as a mediator or as your legal counsel in mediation. Contact Parlee Law Offices today at 519-271-8454 or contact us online for a consultation.