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Archive for the ‘Dispute Resolution’ Columns

The Court of Owls… and Other Things That Mean Different Things to Different People

Note: In this article, the term “culture” is used broadly and is intended to mean anything and everything related to one’s customs, beliefs, behaviours and habits attributable to the make-up of who they are. It embraces the concept introduced to the writer by legendary professor Michelle LeBaron which appreciates that each individual person subscribes to several different cultures. Any one person may have a cultural component of themselves attributable to their age, surroundings, work, etc.

Afsana Gibson-Chowdhury is the founder of Gibson Chowdhury, Clear Collaborative Mediation and a renowned advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion among legal, dispute resolution and . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Pronunciation of Names at Hearings: Best Practices for Tribunals

“There are few things more important than one’s name. It reflects one’s identity, individuality and human dignity.” Adam Dodek, “Mispronouncing names isn’t okay, and it has nothing to do with being ‘woke’”

There’s a movement underway in the legal community to focus attention on the proper pronunciation of names in legal settings. There is a growing recognition that the proper pronunciation of names shows respect and is more inclusive. The minimal effort involved in promoting the proper pronunciation of names can result in a more welcoming and respectful hearing room.

In 2022, the Law Society of Ontario recommended the use . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

A2J for the Middle Class – an Invitation

Access to justice applies to everyone. However, most formal access to justice initiatives focus (rightly) on people who are especially vulnerable due to poverty or very low income. IAALS (the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System) has just launched a new, organized network of individuals and organizations across the U.S. and in Canada who are committed to improving A2J for the “middle-class”.

It is called the Above the Line Network (ATLN).

The idea is to create a collaborative community to share ideas, resources and learnings and work together on innovative ways to meet the needs of this . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Show Me the Money: Explaining Why Contingency Fees Don’t Work in Mediation & How Mediators Can Get Paid in Full

“Cash rules everything around me, C.R.E.A.M. Get the money. Dollar, dollar bill, y’all”
– Wu-Tang Clan

While it gets skewed on tv, mediation involves the mediator having no interest in any particular outcome of a dispute. That scene in Friends where Ross “mediates” a quarrel between Monica and Chandler to keep them on track to move in together so that he can live with Rachel isn’t true mediation. A mediator would have nothing to gain whether Monica and Chandler live together or not.

In real life, sometimes someone with a specific outcome interest takes on what may present as a . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Listen, You Might Learn Something: Listening Is Not a Spectator Sport

My Dad, who passed away in 2006, had a collection of favorite sayings. At one point we packaged them up and listed the top 10 ala David Letterman. At the top of the list was the phrase “listen you might learn something”. Over the years I have begun to understand more deeply the wisdom of his words.

Listening well is a key competency for being a good human. It is especially important for those in leadership and in the conflict management disciplines, such as law, mediation, arbitration. There are probably thousands of books and articles written on what effective listening . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

The Role of Parties and Representatives in Addressing Backlogs and Delays: Examining Witnesses

In my last column I focused on the legal framework for addressing backlogs and delays in administrative tribunals. Before I start to explore the adjudicator’s toolkit for reducing backlogs and delays, I thought it might be worthwhile to start with what the parties and their representatives can and should do to assist in this rather large challenge.

There is some truth to the perception that one of the parties to a dispute either wants delay or is ambivalent about it. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes resolving a dispute – whether you win or lose – is good . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Could Mediators Be Replaced? Examining Fears About the Role of AI in Collaboration & the Future of the Mediation Profession

My mother instilled within me the mentality of not going along with what everyone else is doing. It is a fairly common parental lesson, really. Typically presented in the context of all of one’s friends jumping off of a cliff with the question posed of if you would, too. While I wonder why everyone is jumping – there might be good reason and that information is needed to determine the best course of action – Wikipedia explains the lesson as “a rhetorical question used to discourage the interlocutor from blind obedience”.

There are no less than 20 articles already on . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Addressing Backlogs and Delays in Administrative Justice: Principles Before Process

Reports of backlogs and delays in administrative justice processes are increasingly common. While the pandemic lockdown was a contributing factor to those backlogs, our administrative justice system processes may be contributing to and exacerbating delays in the delivery of administrative justice. What can tribunals do to improve the situation? In this column I will address some of the underlying principles or a framework for reducing both backlogs and delays. Principles provide guardrails around processes that will ensure effective and fair adjudication of disputes.

We first have to start with definitions – what is a “backlog” versus a “delay”? The Action . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

What Protects the Mental Health and Well-Being of Kids Experiencing the Family Justice System?

The BC Family Justice Innovation Lab and its Youth Voices Initiative [Note 1] continue to support the ground-breaking work of the Transform the Family Justice System Collaborative.

Last month, I attended the Youth Family Justice Conference, co-hosted by A2JBC, the Representative for Children and Youth, the Youth Voices Initiative, and the Society for Children and Youth of BC. Young people were involved in the planning, hosting and presentation of the entire conference and dozens attended both in person and online to consider how to improve their “meaningful participation” in decisions that significantly affect their lives.

As Chief . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

The Arbitrator to the Judge: Keep My Name Out Your Mouth

(a vent about the integrity of arbitration confidentiality)

In the world of private arbitration, the courts serve an important role. They represent a check and balance, intended to keep what occurs in the shadow of the law honest. If a participant feels that an arbitral outcome is offside, they can ask a judge to set the award aside.

With this also comes concerns of abuse by participants engaged in the arbitration process. No one likes to be on the losing side of an adversarial proceeding. If the purpose of arbitration is to bring about closure, the notion of appeal rights . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

CAT’s Got Your A2J

As an original member of Ontario’s Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT), I am convinced there is not a cat pun I have yet to encounter. I could be wrong but feel as though I have heard them all.

From the Zoom Filter to the Litterbox

With a spectrum of inspiration ranging from wholesome Dr. Seuss to the controversial Fritz the Cat, there have been good puns and bad. Clean and dirty. Supportive and insulting. Some have been witty. Some have made me groan. Too many have referenced nine lives. Not enough have referenced Garfield. I think my favourite involves someone . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Get Up to Date News About Unbundled Legal Services and Legal Coaching in BC and Beyond

The BC Family Unbundling Roster currently has over 200 Roster members across the province. The BC Family Justice Innovation Lab administers the Roster and publishes a newsletter to Roster members and other subscribers that describes helpful tips about unbundling and developments in the field.

In the August 2023 newsletter you will find details about:

  1. An update on the Unbundled Legal Services Research Project Phase 2/Phase 3
  2. Roster member Sonali Sharma receives CBABC Innovation Award
  3. Jamie Maclaren KC honoured for his inspiring leadership including of the Everyone Legal Clinic which provides services on an unbundled basis
  4. A Slaw post linking unbundling
. . . [more]
Posted in: Dispute Resolution