Author Archives: Hilary Linton

Do No Harm: Should I Move Fast or Slow?

Whether you have left an unhappy situation, or are heartbroken about being left by someone you love or need—anxiety around the prospect staying connected to your separated spouse is visceral. For children, the frustration and despair is multiplied.  Children have no control over the decisions of their parents, the spread of the coronavirus, nor the conditions in which they find …
MORE

Best Practices for Addressing Power Imbalances and Safety in Family Dispute Resolution Processes: Research, Protocols and the Law

Introduction With courts, for now, restricting services to all but emergency matters due to COVID-19, the demand for alternative dispute resolution services is growing exponentially. The need is greater than ever to ensure that those processes put issues of power imbalance and safety of clients and children first. Private mediation or adjudication is not appropriate in all cases. Professionals should …
MORE

Book Review: A Guide To Family Arbitration In Ontario, By Stephen Grant And Jenna Preston (Lexis Nexis 2018)

Score: 9.5/10 As a family arbitrator I am always looking for good reading to stay current. I recommend this book highly for anyone doing this work. This thin (just over 100 pages of text), easy-to-read primer is a gem for family arbitrators and parenting coordinators. It is also a great guide for counsel wondering if private adjudication is a good option. …
MORE

The Tenacious Mediator: Ten tips for “Moving the Mediation”

If there are three qualities that distinguish a good mediator from a great one, they are: Dangerous curiosity: great mediators are not afraid to follow their curiosity. This takes high level questioning skills to do effectively. In particular it requires gentle, non- judgmental, open-ended questions. Genuine curiosity is easy but it requires the mediator to completely set aside any preconceived …
MORE

A Fondness for 311 Jarvis

I have a particular fondness for the court at 311 Jarvis St in Toronto. As a young family lawyer, it was where I felt most at home. The judges were kind and down-to-earth, completely committed to family law, compassionate and no-nonsense. They were gracious to those of us who didn’t always know what they were doing. Having come from a civil litigation …
MORE

Participating in the Open Bar Lecture at 311 Jarvis

 I recently attended one of the great “Open Bar” lectures at 311 Jarvis St— the Ontario Court of Justice in downtown Toronto. It is remarkable that in the court, after hours, gather leaders of the Toronto family law bar, dispute resolution community and judiciary who are working with the most vulnerable of Toronto families at a difficult time in their lives. It …
MORE

Speaking at the OBA Institute on Neuroscience and ADR on February 7 was no exception. 

Here is what I learned: Suzanne Sherkin of Highborn Communications taught me that our brains take short-cuts to the familiar, and that this can be limiting. For example, I did not know that the English language has ten times as many negative words as positive ones, and that the use of these words can send our brains to the familiar …
MORE

The Promise of Family Mediation-Arbitration: Is it Real?

The crisis in access to family law justice has led to many great things happening outside of court. Collaborative practice, for example, has grown from disenchantment with the adversarial legal system’s assumption that positional bargaining necessarily protects the interest of parents and their children. Family mediation has become the go-to solution for both the public– seeking to avoid paying lawyers– …
MORE