As many of you know, unbundled legal services help to fill the gap for people who do not qualify for legal aid and cannot afford full representation. Law Societies in many jurisdictions have formally approved unbundling (also called limited scope legal services) but few lawyers were offering these services to the public. The purpose of the BC Family Justice Unbundled Legal Services Project (the “Project”) was to find ways to encourage more lawyers to offer these services.
Archive for the ‘Dispute Resolution’ Columns
Back in June of this year, the Cyberjustice Laboratory played host to the NAFTA Advisory Committee on Private Commercial Disputes, commonly referred to as the NAFTA 2022 committee since its creation stems from article 2022 of the agreement:
- Each Party shall, to the maximum extent possible, encourage and facilitate the use of arbitration and other means of alternative dispute resolution for the settlement of international commercial disputes between private parties in the free trade area.
- To this end, each Party shall provide appropriate procedures to ensure observance of agreements to arbitrate and for the recognition and enforcement of arbitral
Recent International Surveys Shed Light on Why We Litigate, Even Though We Say We Prefer Mediation or Arbitration
Many business leaders and in-house counsel say that they strongly prefer alternatives to litigation. So why is litigation still the default process for most commercial disputes?
My previous Slaw column looked at the question of whether lawyers are “hijacking” mediation and arbitration. I speculated that one of the problems may simply be that lawyers are risk-averse. This leads them to follow the well-trodden path of litigation, rather than exploring less well-known alternatives.
Some recent research may shed light on the apparent disconnect between the dispute resolution parties say they want and what they actually do.
“Asking the right questions takes as much skill as giving the right answers.” – Robert Half
Lawyers are taught to be experts; having the right answer is a fundamental part of our role. But what did we learn about asking the right questions?
I don’t recall learning very much in law school about how to ask good questions. We learned about the difference between closed, open and leading questions. Closed questions required a yes/no answer; leading questions suggested the (desired) answer.
The clear implication was to avoid the truly “open” questions. In fact, we were taught never to ask a . . . [more]
Having recently left the practice of law to devote my time exclusively to mediation and arbitration (with some teaching and writing on the side), I was intrigued when my ADR friend and colleague Colm Brannigan posted a link to a recent LinkedIn blog that asks: “Have Lawyers Hijacked the Promise of Mediation?”
Author Max Kimber, an Australian mediator and barrister, says it’s time to re-visit the the role of lawyers in mediation, both as representatives of the parties in that process and as mediators.
The same may be said of arbitration, I think.
Kimber talks about the “promise of mediation” . . . [more]
In the aftermath of the first wave of “attacks” using WanaCrypt0r 2.0, a variant of the WanaCry ransomware that started infecting systems around the world, most notably the British National Health Service, on May 12th, 2017, comment boards and blogs have been abuzz with statements regarding the risks of a overly digitalized world. For those who caution against the implementation of technological solutions within the legal system, this attack only serves as another example as to why, in their minds, our paper-based system is still the safest way to manage legal files.
As reports show, they might . . . [more]
Forget the business attire, forget the hearing room, and forget regular business hours. The future may even be dispute resolution in your pyjamas. Necessity being the mother of invention, an increasing need for better access to justice and the means for delivering it means that your home computer, laptop, or mobile device can serve as the place where disputes are resolved.
In Cooper v. Canada (Human Rights Commission),  3 SCR 854 at para. 10, Lamer CJ noted that the rise of the administrative state has been marked by the creation of institutions other than the courts. While Lamer . . . [more]
“Fresh justice is the sweetest”, Sir Francis Bacon, 1618
“..we may look forward to a near future when our courts will be swift and certain agents of Justice”, Dean Roscoe Pound, 1906
“Our system…has come to tolerate excessive delays”, SCC majority in R. v. Jordan, 2016
Delay in court or tribunal proceedings has been an issue at least since the Magna Carta of 1215, when King John promised that “to no man will we sell, to no man deny, or delay right or justice”. Over 800 years later, the Supreme Court of Canada has revisited the issue of delay . . . [more]
The justice system (and the court system in particular) is complex and can be very confusing and intimidating for people. Access to justice efforts are focusing on ways to alleviate these pressures. Progress is slow but determined with some hopeful glimpses of progress.
What continues to disturb me are the surprisingly frequent references to both clients and self-represented litigants (“SRLs”) as “difficult” or “obsessive” or suffering from mental health challenges. [Note 1] A recent example is the current series from Lawpro on “Dealing with the Difficult Client”. Part 3 (March 23, 2017) focuses on “the obsessed client” described as “the . . . [more]
As most lawyers would agree, few recent court cases have had the impact of last year’s Supreme Court decision in R. v. Jordan. A quick look at the CanLII website tells us that it has already been cited in over 200 other decisions in the 8 months since it was rendered and many court administrators have been tasked with finding new ways to comply with its teachings.
As a reminder, the decision affirmed, among other things, that:
 The most important feature of the new framework is that it sets a ceiling beyond which delay is presumptively unreasonable. For . . . [more]
These Rules and guidelines are obviously important for international arbitration, but they may provide useful guidance on good practice for ad hoc and administered arbitrations in Canada as well.
The amended ICC Rules came into force on March 1, 2017.
The most significant changes relate to the Expedited Procedure Rules (Article 30 and Appendix VI) which will now be the default rules for claims under USD 2 million, and may also . . . [more]
I keep a folder with blog post ideas. Sometimes it is hard to choose which topic to focus on for my Slaw column. Not this time.
Professor John Lande’s column on February 12th recommended (commanded?) readers to find and read Noam Ebner’s recent article entitled Negotiation is Changing. Never one to ignore a recommendation from one of my conflict management heroes, I downloaded and read the article. It is fascinating and thought-provoking. I heartily urge anyone involved in negotiation to do the same. I use that phrase in its widest sense to include the legal profession, the conflict resolution/management . . . [more]