Mediation Services at Paul & Company

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary method of settling disputes where people try to work out or settle their disputes with the help of a trained, impartial person, called a mediator. The parties meet with the mediator in private sessions; sometimes the parties meet individually with the mediator.

In mediation, the decision-making authority rests with the parties themselves. Recognizing variations in styles and cultural differences, the role of the mediator involves assisting the parties in defining and clarifying issues, reducing obstacles to communication, exploring possible solutions and reaching a mutually satisfactory agreement. Mediation presents the opportunity to peacefully express conflict and to hear each other out even when an agreement is not reached. Mediation is often referred to as no-fault resolution because the goal is to reach a solution fairly and quickly, not to decide who is right or wrong in a costly courtroom battle.

Mediation is useful in a very broad range of circumstances; it can help resolve almost any civil (non-criminal) dispute that would otherwise go to court or arbitration.

The Mediation Process

Mediation is an alternate dispute resolution mechanism that can, in some cases, prove fruitful to the parties. Mediation is begun by one or both parties or their legal counsel contacting the office. Once the parties have agreed to mediate, a time and place are arranged. Next, the session begins under the guidance and experience of the specially trained and fully certified impartial mediator. Counsel may be present if that is the wish of the parties.Below is information to help you familiarize yourself with some of the issues involved in the mediation process. Since all legal matters are unique, nothing provided here is a substitute for competent legal advice. We strongly urge you to consult with a lawyer about any particular legal problem you may have.

What is a Mediator?

A mediator is a skilled neutral leader of the mediation conference. The mediator helps the parties communicate and explore options with the goal of reaching a mutually acceptable agreement. The mediator is not a therapist or marriage counsellor. The mediator does not make decisions for the parties. The mediator does not determine who is right or who is wrong. The mediator leads the parties in problem-solving.

What Kind of Legal Issues can be Mediated?

Mediation is useful in a very broad range of circumstances; it can help resolve almost any civil (non-criminal) dispute that would otherwise go to court or arbitration.

Why Mediate?

Mediation works for many reasons. Mostly, mediation works because the parties want to settle their differences instead of having a judge do it for them. No one knows their problems better than the parties involved; therefore, they are the best persons to make the decisions. In family cases, divorce can be difficult on everyone involved – parents, children and extended families. Family mediation can be a healing process that enhances communication and cooperation among family members as they fulfill their individual and joint responsibilities in new and creative ways.

Will I Need a Lawyer Also?

Although mediation can provide a successful, risk-free resolution to almost any dispute, it is not a substitute for legal advice. Frequently you will still need a lawyer to give you legal and negotiation skills and advice. The lawyer may also be required to draft papers to put your mutual resolutions into a written form for all parties to sign.

How Long does Mediation Take?

Mediation requires enough time for the two parties to be able to explain, in an uninterrupted fashion, their own perceptions of the current disputed issues and their ideas about how to keep the problem solved in the future. The amount of time necessary to accomplish this varies, depending especially on what issue is being mediated. For example, in divorce matters where the parties have already decided to divorce but have been unable to settle their financial issues and problems involving the children, mediation generally requires between 3 and 10 sessions, normally held every week or every other week. If the parties cooperate in providing discovery and are able to schedule appointments weekly, the entire process can be completed in less than 2 months.

An Alternative to Litigation

Mediation may be an appropriate alternative to litigation when both parties seek to resolve their issues by agreement and want to avoid a trial or other adversarial court proceedings. Mediation may be inappropriate if there has been domestic violence in the family, if one party feels controlled by or fearful of the other party, or if either party is not willing to provide full and honest disclosure of their income, assets and debts.

What If the Parties Cannot Agree on All the Issues?

Any issues which are not resolved through mediation can be decided by the court or negotiated by the lawyers.

What are the Benefits of Mediation?

The primary benefit of mediation is a fair resolution of the issues, but mediation is also:

  • Confidential – There is no public record; mediation sessions are held in private and on a “without prejudice” basis.
  • Cost Effective – Mediation can reduce legal costs and utilize less staff time. Generally, mediation can cost far less than litigation.
  • Flexible – The parties set their own schedule. Mediation permits parties to fashion remedies designed to fit the unique needs, values and circumstances of the parties, permitting “win/win” solutions. Mediation allows the parties to retain control of the situation and promotes communication and cooperation. The parties themselves decide the outcome.
  • Gentle – With the guidance of a professional in dispute resolution modelling active listening skills, parties are encouraged to communicate in more effective ways. This diffuses tensions and misunderstanding that impede negotiations; and, in permitting free, clearer expression, helps parties find satisfaction in being heard. Communication skills and insight learned through the mediation process last well beyond the resolution of a single dispute.
  • Quick – Mediation sessions can be scheduled early in the dispute and at times acceptable to the parties, thereby increasing the likelihood of a prompt settlement. It avoids the delays and frequent non-productive court appearances associated with our over-burdened court systems.
  • Risk Free – Anyone can leave at any time.

Online Mediation Services

Web-based teleconferencing offers an effective, and innovative alternative to conventional in-person mediation. Used properly, it is an effective, efficient, and worthwhile addition to the mediation process. The many benefits to Online Mediation include:

  • Voluntary and Risk Free.  If a party is dissatisfied with the process he or she can opt out at any time.
  • Less Intimidating.  Allowing you to participate in a comfortable setting of your choosing.   You will still be able to work with your mediator and the other parties to the dispute in real time.
  • Saves Money.  Using existing platforms readily available, online mediation can be more affordable than a traditional model.  Travel costs are eliminated.
  • Avoids Delay.  The COVID-19 Pandemic is limiting personal interactions and closing courtrooms.   This means there will be a backlog of cases when courtroom re-open. On-line mediation may be your best solution to resolve matters quickly.
  • Focussed on Results. The online environment produces results by setting  tighter deadlines for settlement. All parties save time and money.
  • Allows for Privacy. You and your lawyer will still be able to have private sessions with each other an your mediator while also using presentation technologies, and document sharing.

Paul & Company is ready to use its proven experience to offer you access to its professionals in videoconference.  Our reliable and secure technology meets all applicable government and Law Society standards.

About Our Professionals

When considering mediation, experience counts.  David A. Paul, Q.C. is a Family Law Mediator and a Family Law Arbitrator with extensive training and experience. As a lawyer/mediator, David is driven by the belief that, although some cases must be tried, most can be settled through careful, thoughtful mediation.  With over 500 successful mediations and a career spanning four decades, David Paul Q.C. has a proven record of results.  Court delays and the high cost of litigation should be pointing you and your clients to a possible mediated dispute resolution. David has helped parties resolve disputes in diverse legal areas including  family law, civil ltigation/personal Injury, and estate dsputes (including the estates of Indigenous Persons).

David has helped parties resolve contentious issues throughout British Columbia and can conduct mediations in person where required.  David has built up experience and invested in technology that allow him to effectively resolve matters in an online forum.  Online mediation can lower costs for all parties, while still maintaining confidentiality. David Paul is Law Society Certified as a Family Law Mediator, Family Law Arbitrator, and Parenting Coordinator. David is also a roster member of Mediate BC (Civil and Family) and the B.C. Parenting Coordination Roster Society.David is a proven leader and innovator within the mediation community.  His 2017 Master’s Thesis in Dispute Resolution is published in the Fall 2017 edition of the Harvard Negotiation Law Review.He would be pleased o speak with any legal practitioner seeking to resolve their backlog of files in a fair and effective manner.  The next best step for your client is potentially a phone call or an email away.

How Much Does Mediation Cost?

Fees for mediation are billed at an hourly rate. The parties are encouraged to share the cost. The total cost of a mediated divorce is usually less than those in the adversarial process.

To get more information on how on-line mediation can work for you, contact Paul & Company and request an on-line consultation at 250-828-9998