More About Mediation Services
Mediation provides an early opportunity to settle lawsuits
The Mediation Process
In mediation, a neutral third party – the mediator -providing mediation services helps the disputing parties look for a solution that works for them.
Mediators, unlike judges, do not decide cases or impose settlements. The mediator helps the parties communicate and negotiate with each other in a constructive manner, gain a better understanding of the interests of all parties, and find a resolution based on common understanding and mutual agreement.
Benefits of Mediation
Mediation can help parties resolve disputes faster, saving them time & money.
Mediation is an accessible & affordable alternative to court for individuals & businesses.
The mediation process is informal, neutral and completely confidential.
Mediation offers the parties an opportunity to craft a solution that meets their needs.
Mediation promotes cooperative problem-solving and improved communications.
Mandatory Mediation: Rule 24.1 – Toronto, Ottawa & Windsor
Rule 24.1 of the Rules of Civil Procedure establishes mandatory mediation for civil, non-family, case managed actions. The mandatory mediation program is in effect in Toronto, Ottawa and Windsor.
The mandatory mediation program is designed to help parties resolve disputes outside of court early in the litigation process, thereby saving them both time and money.
Approximately 95 percent of all lawsuits settle. However, many of them settle late in the process, and after parties have incurred substantial legal costs.
Summary of Rule 24.1
Rule 24.1 applies to most civil, case-managed actions. Case management, which is governed by Rule 77, gives the court primary responsibility for managing the flow of cases and guides the pace of litigation by establishing time frames for specific events.
The mediation must take place within 90 days after the first defence is filed, unless the parties obtain a court order abridging or extending the time.
For standard track cases, parties may consent to a postponement of up to 60 days.
Parties may opt out of mediation only by obtaining a court order exempting them.
Parties may agree to select a mediator from the program’s roster of mediators or one who is not on the roster.
If the parties do not select a mediator within 30 days after the first defence is filed, one will be appointed for them by the local mediation coordinator.
At least 7 days before the mediation, parties must provide the mediator and the 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.
Compliance with Rule 24.1
If any party fails to submit a Statement of Issues or to attend within the first 30 minutes of the mediation session, the mediator may cancel the mediation and file a Certificate of Non-Compliance. The party responsible for the cancellation will be required to pay any cancellation fees charged by the mediator and may be subject to sanctions imposed by the court.
Attendance at Mediation
The mediation may be held anywhere that is acceptable to the parties, such as the mediator’s office, the office of any party or their lawyer, or at the court facilities.
All parties and (if they are represented) 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.
Length of Mediation
Private (or non-mandatory) mediations can last from a half-day to multiple days, depending on the complexity of the matter being mediated.
The mandatory mediation program provides for a mediation session of up to three hours. Of course, the mediator may end the mediation before that time if the case settles or if he or she concludes that the process is not constructive for the parties. If the mediation is not concluded within three hours, the mediator may, with the consent of all parties, continue the session or arrange for additional sessions.
Agreements Reached at Mediation
Agreements resolving some or all of the issues in dispute must be in writing and signed by the parties or their lawyers.
If the parties settle the case, the defendant must file a notice with the court advising of the settlement within 10 days of the agreement being signed (or in the case of a conditional agreement within 10 days of the condition being satisfied).
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 under the terms of the agreement or continue the legal proceedings as if there had been no agreement.
Cases that do not Settle at Mediation. Mediation can be a success even if the case is not settled. A mediation is considered successful where the parties gain a better understanding of the other side’s position, if they have narrowed the issues or settled some of the issues, or if they have agreed on a process to resolve issues later in the proceeding. Lawsuits that do not settle at mediation continue through the court process.
Our law offices are conveniently located in Toronto in the Lawrence and Don Mills area and we have plenty of free parking.
For further information or assistance with mediation services, please contact one of the mediators listed on the left by clicking on their name.