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Archive for the ‘Dispute Resolution’ Columns

The Enduring Value of the Mediation Skillset

During Conflict Resolution Week in October, Mediate BC Roster mediators made a number of presentations around the province about mediation. We tried to answer the public’s question: “What is Mediation?” That seems like a simple task – it is not.

First, “mediation” is not just one thing. It is a flexible tool that includes a variety of processes. Some practitioners have tried to catalogue the processes and to assign names (interest-based, facilitative, transformative, narrative, evaluative, rights-based, joint, shuttle, etc.). From the perspective of the people in conflict, each of these processes will look very different and the role of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Confidentiality of Mediation and Arbitration

Confidentiality and privacy are often mentioned as advantages of mediation and arbitration over litigation in commercial disputes.

In some cases, of course, the threat of publicity can be a tactical advantage for one party. But, going into an agreement at least, both parties usually have an interest in protecting trade secrets and business goodwill. Even after a dispute arises, private and public-sector organizations may be reluctant to air their disputes in public, for a variety of reasons. So they want any agreed dispute resolution process to be private and confidential.

Recent cases in Canada and elsewhere illustrate the care parties . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Reasons for Decisions: The Path From Intelligible to Implicit

The writing of reasons for decisions is never easy. Adjudicators must strike the right balance between comprehensiveness and intelligibility. In most cases, adjudicators also have a heavy workload and perfection in reason writing is not possible. There are many readers of an adjudicator’s reasons, but the readers that I will focus on in this column are judges. There has been a sea change in the approach of courts to reasons over the past decade. That change reflects the reality of increased litigation, stagnant or declining resources and an increased focus on efficiency. This has led to a focus on a . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

UNCITRAL’s WGIII on Online Dispute Resolution… a Seemingly Perpetual Tug of War

Between October 20th and 24th, as it does every Autumn, UNCITRAL’s Working group III on Online dispute resolution met to try and finally draft procedural rules for ODR providers. Unlike previous sessions, this year’s was rumoured to be a “make it or break it” meeting. This could be gleaned from the restatement of the directives given to participants in July of 2012 by UNCITRAL:

(a) the Working Group should consider and report back at a future session of the Commission on how the draft rules would respond to the need of developing countries and those facing post-conflict . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Privatization of Justice: Balancing Efficiency and Access to Justice

As we struggle to fix access to justice, life goes on and people start to use other means to address their need for an efficient dispute resolution system. The rise of private systems of justice raises interesting questions of transparency, legitimacy, accountability and democracy. A recent book by Professor Trevor C.W. Farrow of Osgoode Hall Law School (Civil Justice, Privatization, and Democracy) is a comprehensive treatment of these issues. (An excerpt was published on slaw.ca earlier this year.)

The Rule of Law requires a system of justice that is characterized by openness, knowledge and accessibility. Professor Farrow’s thesis . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Look to the Future by Looking Outside Our Context

In August 2014, the CBA published its final report entitled “Futures: Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada”.

In January 2013, the Futures Committee published a very comprehensive report entitled “The Future of the Legal Profession: Report on the State of Research”. This report summarized research conducted around the world by or about Bar Associations, Other Legal Associations, law schools, firms and legal futurists, articles, books, conferences and blogs. The methodology makes it clear that the focus was “the future of the legal profession and law firms”, access to justice and the role of bar associations. The . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Attention Conflict Resolvers: Participate in Conflict Resolution Week October 11 – 18, 2014

Mediate BC has taken the bold step of proclaiming Oct 11 – 18, 2014 as Conflict Resolution Week in British Columbia.

During Conflict Resolution Week Mediate BC will be supporting its Roster mediators who are involved in various activities and events to raise public awareness of effective, timely and affordable problem-solving approaches. Check out Mediate BC’s website for examples of the activities to date. We will also be announcing the results of our 2014 Mediator Survey.

While Mediate BC’s focus is primarily mediation and other consensual dispute resolution approaches, Conflict Resolution Week encompasses a much broader spectrum of people striving . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

The Eyes Have It

There has been a fair bit of discussion recently about the pros and cons on online dispute resolution (ODR).

Using technology to help people resolve disputes does have many advantages. It can increase access to justice –both collaborative (mediation) and adjudicative (arbitration). It can be faster and cheaper than other options.

The availability of ODR tools is an important factor in consumer confidence for electronic commerce. People are simply more willing to buy things online if they know there is a way to resolve problems.

But there is one inherent problem with many ODR systems. You can’t look your opponent . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

ODR as a Viable Business Model for Resolving “Right to Be Forgotten” Disputes

[Sarit Mizrahi assisted in the preparation of this column.]

By now, we’ve all heard about the Google Spain SL, Google Inc. v. Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (AEPD), Mario Costeja González decision rendered last May by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). However, for those who’ve been living under the proverbial rock, let us go over the facts:

A complaint was lodged with the Spanish Data Protection Authority (“AEPD”) by Mr. Gonzalez on March 5, 2010 against a Spanish newspaper publisher, Google Spain and Google Inc. due to the fact that, when his . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Learning to Be an Adjudicator: The Importance of Time

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the bitterest,” Confucius

An important aspect of access to justice is the skill of adjudicators in both managing hearings and issuing decisions. How do we ensure that we have the right adjudicators to efficiently and fairly manage the hearing process as well as issue timely and fair decisions?

The appointment process is critical for selecting people with the right aptitudes and work ethic. However, the appointment process is not within the control of tribunals and . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

The Conflict Resolution Practitioner of the Future

I am writing this post from our boat in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia – a welcome break from the usual flurry of activity and a time for deeper reflection than is usually available.

The feeling that we are living in a bubble of safety and tranquility was amplified when we picked up a major newspaper at our last port of call. It contained a full frontal onslaught of horrendous news from around the globe: the Gaza Strip, the Ukraine, Iraq, ongoing conflict in Syria, Somalia, the Ebola crisis in West Africa and the environmental disaster in BC’s interior, . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Become a “Mediation Freak”: Understanding the Role of Incentives in Mediation

In their recently published book Think Like a Freak, Freakonomics authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner offer a simple set of rules to explain the role of incentives in many forms of financial and non-financial interactions.

  1. Figure out what people really care about, not what they say they care about.
  2. Incentivize them on the dimensions that are valuable to them but cheap for you to provide.
  3. Pay attention to how people respond; if their response surprises you or frustrates you, learn from it and try something different.
  4. Whenever possible, create incentives that switch the frame from adversarial to cooperative.
. . . [more]
Posted in: Dispute Resolution