Mediation is an informal settlement process designed to bring all of the persons involved in the dispute (and their lawyers, if any) together with the mediator in an attempt to settle the dispute. Some mediations can be completed in less than a full day. Others require more than one day.
My roles as the mediator are to facilitate the discussion among the parties, to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to be heard and to express their views of the situation and to help the parties come to a settlement which ends the dispute.
I do not impose an outcome or a settlement on anyone. Any settlement must be agreed to by all of the parties. If a settlement is reached, then I usually prepare a brief, point-form Settlement Agreement which everyone signs right then and there.
If you have a lawyer, ask him or her. Most lawyers are familiar with mediation and can advise you if mediation is appropriate in your circumstances.
If you don't have a lawyer, call me (250-564-5544, or toll-free 1-877-964-5544). I will ask you for the names of all of the parties (to ensure that I don’t have a conflict of interest) and for a brief summary of the situation. Then I can discuss with you whether mediation appears to be appropriate in your situation.
If all the parties agree, a mediation can be scheduled to take place at any mutually convenient time, before or after a lawsuit has been started.
Sometimes mediations are scheduled to take place near the end of the court process, shortly before the case is scheduled to go to trial. In other situations, mediations are booked shortly after the dispute arises and before a lawsuit is filed, particularly where the situation is urgent and everyone needs a quick solution.
If a lawsuit has been started and a party is reluctant to attend a mediation, in some cases that reluctant party can be compelled to attend a mediation session by way of a "Notice to Mediate," pursuant to certain provincial regulations. (Note that although reluctant parties can be compelled to attend a mediation in some situations, they cannot be compelled to settle. A settlement at a mediation must be reached with the agreement of all of the parties involved in the settlement.)
I am willing to travel throughout British Columbia for mediations, year-round.
For the mediation itself, I will need one meeting room which is large enough to accommodate everyone at once, plus one or more separate smaller meeting rooms (depending on the number of participants). During the mediation I will use the smaller private room(s) to meet privately with one or more of the parties. For example, if the dispute involves people in an office workplace, then we may be able to use the office's boardroom and one or more empty offices for the mediation. But if it's preferable to have the mediation take place on "neutral territory," then I will rent meeting rooms at a hotel or similar facility.
Not always. Distance mediations (via video conferencing or telephone conferencing) became much more common during the COVID-19 pandemic. I suspect that even after the pandemic is over, distance mediations will continue to be the norm and in-person mediations will be rare. That being said, there will be some situations where in-person mediations are preferable.
In situations where the parties or their lawyers are distant from each other and the situation is not overly complex, a distance mediation usually can work just as well as an in-person mediation, with the benefit of saving travel time and costs all around.
For a mediation by video conferencing, you will need:
If you want to schedule a mediation, here's what I need to know to get started:
Then call my secretary, Stephanie (250-564-5544, or toll-free 1-877-964-5544), and she'll take it from there.
If the dispute is particularly complex or sensitive, it can be helpful for me to have a pre-mediation meeting with each party, in private, a few days before the mediation. I will contact you if I think a private pre-mediation meeting would be useful.
Before the mediation, each of the participants should send me a Mediation Summary, which is a summary of the relevant facts in the situation along with what that party sees as the issues to be discussed at the mediation. A typical Mediation Summary is usually about two to five pages long. The prior exchange of these Mediation Summaries helps to ensure that everyone understands what everyone else has to say about the facts and issues, and helps to avoid surprises during the mediation itself.
Please call my secretary, Stephanie, or me for my current mediation hourly rate. Mediation fees are GST-taxable, but not PST-taxable. Travel time, travel expenses, room rental charges, and lunch catering are extra. In some cases I will require a deposit in advance of the mediation. Don't hesitate to call me or my secretary, Stephanie, to discuss the details or to ask for a copy of my current mediation fee schedule.
The foregoing contains some general legal information, based on the law of British Columbia. Readers should consult a lawyer to obtain specific legal advice about their particular situation.
Your Prince George and northern BC Lawyer and Mediator.