Mediation provides an early opportunity to settle lawsuits
In mediation, a neutral third party – the mediator – helps the parties find a solution that works for them.
Mediators, unlike judges, do not decide cases or impose settlements. The mediator helps the parties communicate with each other to gain a better understanding of the interests of all parties, and helps the parties negotiate with each other in a constructive manner to find a resolution based on common understandings and mutual agreement.
The mediation may be held anywhere that the parties agree, such as the mediator’s office, a court reporter’s office, the office of any party or their lawyer, or at court facilities.
All parties and their lawyers must attend the mediation. A lawyer may not attend in the place of a party. Parties must have authority to settle the case or have ready telephone access to anyone whose approval is needed to settle. If a corporation, partnership or other organization is a claimant or a defendant, it should be represented by an individual who is authorized to make a decision on its behalf.
Mediations can last from a half-day to multiple days, depending on the complexity of the matter being mediated.
Agreements reached at mediation are legally binding. If a party fails to comply with a signed agreement, any other party to the agreement may bring a motion for judgment in accordance with the terms of the agreement or may elect to continue the legal proceedings as if there had been no agreement.
Mediation can be beneficial even if the case is not settled. A mediation may help the parties gain a better understanding of the other side’s position, it may narrow the issues to be litigated, it may settle some of the issues, or it may result in an agreement on a process to resolve issues later in the proceeding.
Rule 24.1 of the Rules of Civil Procedure establishes mandatory mediations for civil, non-family actions in Toronto, Ottawa and Essex County (Windsor). The mandatory mediation program is designed to help the parties resolve disputes early in the litigation process, thereby saving them both time and money.
Over 95 percent of lawsuits settle; however many of them settle late in the litigation process, after the parties have incurred substantial legal expense.
Rule 24.1 applies to most civil actions. The mediation must take place within 180 days after the first defence is filed, unless the parties obtain a court order abridging or extending the time. Parties may opt out of mediation only by obtaining a court order exempting them. At least 7 days before the mediation, the parties must provide the mediator and all other parties to the lawsuit with a Statement of Issues, which identifies the issues in dispute and the parties’ positions and interests. The pleadings and any documents of central importance to the case must be included. After the session, the mediator must complete and file a report on the outcome of the mediation.
Our law offices are conveniently located in Toronto, Whitby and Barrie. We have ample meetings rooms for mediations, and refreshments are available at each location. Each location has ample free parking.
For further information about our mediation services, please contact one of our mediators.