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Archive for the ‘Dispute Resolution’ Columns

Towards Cyberjustice Retrospective, Part 5: What the Future Holds

As promised in our previous post, we are back to discuss the fourth and final chapter of our upcoming report detailing the pursuits of the “Towards Cyberjustice” Project (the other parts can be found here: part 1part 2part 3). Whereas our previous posts highlighted the various papers, studies and pilot projects conducted by the Cyberjustice Laboratory and its partners throughout this seven-year long venture, our final post is dedicated to the future avenues of research that were inspired by our accomplishments over these last years, which are also supported by the Social . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Adjudication of Technology and Construction Disputes

The movement toward speedy adjudication of payment disputes in the construction and technology sectors seems to be gaining some momentum this fall, with new programs being launched in Ontario and England.

In England, the Society for Computers and Law (SCL) has launched a new adjudication process for resolution of technology disputes, following several years of study and industry consultation.

SCL was established to educate legal and technology professionals and promote “best practice” for the technology sector in the UK. It identified a need for faster, cheaper resolution of disputes involving long term, high value, and technically complex technology contracts.

Adjudication . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

The Case for Well-Designed Dispute Resolution Clauses

During my final year with Mediate BC, I had the opportunity to study the use of “dispute resolution clauses” (“DR Clauses”) within the BC business community. By “DR Clause” I mean a clause in a contract that sets out how the parties will deal with any disputes arising out of the contract, including the interpretation of the terms of the contract itself (Note 1). As part of the research, I interviewed several inhouse counsel as well as outside counsel/solicitors who acted for prominent BC businesses. I was surprised to find that (Note 2):

  1. Most had not given much thought to
. . . [more]
Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Towards Cyberjustice Retrospective, Part 4: a Look Inside the Courthouse

After a one-year hiatus, we are back with the fourth of a series of blogs highlighting the various papers, studies, and pilot projects conducted by the Cyberjustice Laboratory and its partners throughout the seven-year long “Towards Cyberjustice” Project (the previous parts can be found here: part 1, part 2, part 3). Funded by a Major Collaborative Research Grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council, this project has finally drawn to a close and will be the subject of a detailed report to be released later this year. In anticipation of this upcoming . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Canada Not Among 46 Nations Signing UN Mediation Convention

The United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (under UN custom referred to as the ‘Singapore Convention’) was formally signed in August 2019. Canada is not one of the initial signatories to the Convention, which was previously approved by the UN General Assembly.

The Convention sets requirements for reliance on settlement agreements, standards for enforcing the agreements, and grounds for refusing to grant relief.

It applies specifically to settlement of “international” commercial disputes. It does not apply to consumer disputes. Nor does it apply to family, inheritance or employment matters.

The Convention also expressly does not apply . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Enhancing Mediation With Technology

In this post I’m highlighting a really helpful and provocative article by Alyson Carrel and Noam Ebner [Note 1] entitled “Mind the Gap: Bringing Technology to the Mediation Table”. The article acknowledges the powerful force of technology in all parts of our lives and points out that the mediation field’s adoption of useful technology has been largely focused on offering online or “distance mediation” processes. The authors warn that unless the mediation field actively explores the use of technology in all parts of the mediation process, including in-person mediation, it risks becoming irrelevant to the next generation of mediators . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Is Arbitration Private and Confidential in Canada?

The limits on privacy and confidentiality of arbitration is often hard to unravel. They are really two separate questions. And the answer to both seems to be: “It depends.”

Is Arbitration Private?

It is generally assumed that arbitration is private – in contrast to the courts, which are generally open to the public, with some exceptions. But where does that assumption arise?

Provincial arbitration statutes generally do not provide that arbitration is private. (See for example the Uniform Arbitration Act and the BC, Alberta, and Ontario Acts.)

Nor does the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, which has . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Court Navigators – Another Important Tool to Increase Access to Justice

There is an active access to justice movement alive and growing in Canada. It is widely recognized that no one program, tool or activity will, by itself, solve the “access to justice crisis”. Instead, a variety of approaches are needed at all stages of the citizen’s journey through the justice system (not just in the courts).

In the United States, the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) and the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) issued a resolution in 2015 calling for “100% access to effective assistance for essential civil legal needs…through a continuum of meaningful and appropriate services.” As . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Arbitration, by Any Other Name

I recently went looking for a simple definition of arbitration and ended up going around in circles.

Wiktionary, the online dictionary, defines arbitrate as to either make a judgement in a dispute as an arbitrator, or to submit a dispute to such a judgment. Arbitrator is then defined as a person to whom the authority to settle or judge a dispute is delegated.

The Oxford English Dictionary is even less helpful. It defines arbitrate as to “reach an authoritative judgement or settlement.” Arbitration is “the use of an arbitrator to settle a dispute,” and arbitrator is “an independent person or . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Raising Public Awareness of Unbundling: It’s Not “If You Build It, They Will Come”!

Unbundled legal services (also called “limited scope legal services”) are part of a movement that is gaining momentum in Canada. We are excited to see that the BC Family Unbundling Roster hosts 150 family lawyers willing to provide these services to families. And the new Ontario Family Law Limited Scope Services Project offers a directory of lawyers together with information and tools for both lawyers and the public.

“There is no doubt that the assistance of a professional lawyer in a family law matter is invaluable. With “unbundling” that assistance can take the form of help in discrete increments where

. . . [more]
Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Cybersecurity Risks for Mediators and Arbitrators

Despite almost daily reports of privacy breaches and thefts of confidential information, the role of mediators and arbitrators in protecting this information has received relatively little attention in the professional community.

That is rapidly changing.

Now, almost every continuing education session I go to has some discussion on this topic.

Are the mediators and arbitrators in the room complying with privacy laws? This means PIPEDA compliance for those who work in Canada and – more crucially – the new(ish) European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which affects anyone who collects information relating to EU citizens.

This was brought home again . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

New Skills for Lawyers and Conflict Management Professionals

Two important new articles came across my desk in the last week or so. They each offer lists of new skills and aptitudes that will be needed by lawyers and conflict management professionals (mediators, arbitrators, negotiators etc.) in the “new world”.

In the first article, Noam Ebner and Elayne E. Greenberg explore this topic with the provocative title “What Dinosaurs Can Teach Lawyers About How to Avoid Extinction in the ODR Evolution.” (Note 1) They begin with the following salvo to the legal profession:

This paper is a wake-up call for the legal profession: Heed the justice changes

. . . [more]
Posted in: Dispute Resolution