Category Archives: Uncategorised

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 …

12 Stages of Family Mediator Moves

Our 40 hour Basic Family Mediation course is rich with useful content designed to teach the fundamentals of family mediation, including this helpful flowchart, which is an excerpt from those training materials:

Arbitration: Sufficiency of Reasons

Judges sometimes make reversible errors that are overturned on appeal; so too with arbitrators. It is not very often, however, that judges or arbitrators have their decisions overturned for lack of sufficiency in their reasons, especially in complicated cases, involving lots of money. It also does not often happen that an appellate judge feels the need to set out a …

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

Introduction Originally published in Ontario Family Law Reporter (33 O.F.L.R), April 2020 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 …

Enforcement of Agreements and Orders in a Closed PC Process

Walk softly and carry a big stick is a variation on a phrase popularized by US President Theodore Roosevelt in a 1903 speech when he said to the crowd “speak softly and carry a big stick”. In other words, attempt peaceful negotiations while also being prepared for confrontation by displaying one’s power, especially elements of force.  When I think of the …

CBC Promotes Family Mediation!

Listening to the CBC’s recent program on family law (Ontario Morning, March 12), it became clear to me that separating parents do not always understand their dispute resolution options. Recent changes to the federal and provincial laws require all separating couples to consider trying out-of-court settlement, and many are doing just that. But it can be wildly confusing trying to …

How to Help Your Clients Prepare for a Negotiation – Part 2 of 4

The mediator’s first job is to assess whether the proposed negotiation is suitable for all, is feasible, and can proceed in accordance with the guiding principle of “do no harm”. In this 4-part blog series, we will explore some questions mediators can review with clients before starting a mediation: PART 2 – IDENTIFY THE TERMS OF THE NEGOTIATION PROCESS Define …

How Can Mediator-Arbitrators and Parenting Coordinators Maintain Their Neutrality?

It can be challenging for FDR professionals to maintain the perception of neutrality in when working in dual functions as mediator-arbitrators and parenting coordinators.  There is an inherent tension in the various roles encompassed in the process. Mediators often engage in tactics that might be seen to show their assessment of the situation.   Even where parties have consented to …