Category Archives: Negotiation

(As in Ontario) The Alberta Court of Appeal (correctly) confirms: Courts cannot order a PC

A recent Alberta Court of Appeal decision has confirmed that a court cannot order parents to retain a parenting coordinator. In SSG and SKG (2022 ABCA 379 CanLII) the trial judge had, after a lengthy trial, ordered the parents to “retain a parenting coordinator with arbitration powers to resolve day-to-day conflict that may arise related to the detailed parenting plan …

What exactly is family mediation?

“What helps to resolve family cases? In examining which cases ultimately resolved, what seems most important …was how willing (the parties) were to accept the family dispute resolution paradigm and how able they were to uphold it— given their perspectives and circumstances.”[1]   The summary above, from a study published in the most recent issue of the Family Court Review, …

Is it confidential? Is it binding? A recent case answers common questions about mediation

A recent decision of Justice A. Himel of the Newmarket Superior Court of Justice is instructive for family mediators, parties seeking mediation services and their lawyers. Butler v Butler addresses the question of mediation confidentiality, and whether an unsigned Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) can be enforced as an agreement. After a long day of closed (eg/confidential) mediation, the mediator dictated …

Identifying and Assessing Family Violence and Power Dynamics

What are the fundamental principles of ADR? What are some basic screening concepts I should know before starting mediation and/or arbitration? What are mediators looking for when assessing for risk?  Learn measures mediators use to balance power and keep parties and children safe. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) functions with three fundamental principles: ADR is a voluntary process ADR is a …

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 …

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 …

Telephone Mediation is Family Mediation Friendly

The choice of the space in which mediation takes place is vital to the process of conflict resolution. Factors such as climate, the culture of mediation practice, and procedures that govern the practice of alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) (such as rules of confidentiality) have usually confined ADR proceedings to enclosed spaces in colder climes

What is mediation?: rantings from a family mediator

I was recently told by a client that her lawyer discouraged her from trying mediation, claiming it is too “touchy-feely”. This rant is for that lawyer.