The second annual Family Dispute Resolution Week (FDRweek) is set be held this coming November 21st through 25th, with the group’s key event, a 1-day conference scheduled for Monday the 21st at the Ismaili Centre in Toronto.
This year’s conference and FDRweek will include events for lawyers, family law professionals and the general public in Toronto, Oshawa, Pickering, Ajax, Newmarket, and Barrie.
The theme for FDRweek 2016 is “Mediation and dispute resolution in a pluralistic society.” Event organizers note that, “Canada is widely recognized as being the second home for many immigrants. Many dispute resolution clients are new Canadians, whose first language is not English, as well as those with low income. A great many cases involve mental health challenges, family violence, and limited access to legal and dispute resolution options.”
The group also highlights, “about 50% to 80% of those in Family Court are self-represented litigants—whose who either cannot afford to hire a lawyer at the outset of separation or who have run out of money.”
The use of mediation, arbitration, and collaborative law can help increase access to justice by reducing the caseload on courts, as well as reducing the number of Self-Represented Litigants (SRLs) because lawyers are equipped with the requisite skills to help couples negotiate a separation agreement they can live with. This message is reflected in a video on the group’s website from Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.
FDRIO is a not-for-profit designed to bring all professionals in the family dispute resolution field together for more powerful advocacy about the many benefits of resolving cases out of court. FDRIO aims to help educate the public about the costs and benefits of each dispute resolution process available in family law cases. The organization also seeks to help the public identify those rare cases when going to court is the best option, and to provide information that will help unrepresented parties better navigate the legal system.