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In the course of any legal dispute, litigation is one of many ways to resolve the case. However, going to trial is not inevitable if both parties are open to other legal strategies besides going to court. There are a few options available.

  • Negotiation – most popular
  • Mediation
  • Arbitration
  • Med-arbitration

In this article, we will focus on the process and benefits of mediation.

A few quick facts about mediation

  • Mediation can be initiated at any point during a dispute.
  • The mediator establishes an orderly process for all parties to follow.
  • The majority of mediations take a day or less to complete.
  • Mediation costs way less than litigation.
  • Mediation usually allows parties to move on with their lives more quickly than a trial.

Some jurisdictions have a court-mandated mediation as part of the formal process

Mediation is often preferred by clients not only for its efficiency and cost-effectiveness, but because it allows parties to participate in their own resolution rather than having a decision imposed upon them.

Effective mediation and facilitated negotiation led by trained mediators and lawyers have proven to be particularly effective.

Parties involved in mediation can feel empowered and have control over resolving their own problems. They have an opportunity to participate in the solution in a voluntary way, and no binding decision is made without agreement by both parties. It is a constructive solution that often meets their real needs and interests.

Mediation is a good solution when emotional and financial stakes are high

In many personal injury and real estate cases, when parties have a view to finding a mutually acceptable way forward, a skilled mediator and lawyer are crucial.

For privacy reasons, many individuals involved in estate disputes prefer to settle their disputes out of court, ensuring their finances and other personal information do not become public record.

Plus, an out-of-court settlement offers the ability to craft solutions that a court cannot offer, and to even offer non-monetary solutions to issues in dispute.

Mediation is often used to resolve disputes over expensive real estate

British Columbians have one of the highest median family net worth in the country and some of the highest housing prices in Canada. Many estates are worth considerably more than $1 million, with many of B.C.’s wealthiest individuals having invested in land or real estate, raising the value of their estate even further.

Considering we are in the midst of one of the largest intergenerational transfers of wealth in Canadian history over the next 20 years, mediation in real estate disputes will no doubt continue to be the most desirable means of resolving estate disputes.

Most personal injury cases settle out of court

Because each personal injury case is unique, settlement discussions – mediation or negotiation – are usually tailored to each case.

Some personal injury cases are settled quickly while others can take months or years. Sometimes negotiations fail entirely and the case goes to trial.

Choosing mediation does not mean that you forego your right to be represented by legal counsel or your right to have a judge hear your claim. There are situations where there are valid reasons for a plaintiff to choose litigation as a course of action.

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