Published On: Friday, 22 September 2017
Arbitration & Mediation Provides Dispute Resolution Alternative
- The Paul E. Love Law Corporation is a Vancouver Island-based Arbitrator and Mediator specializing in construction, contracts, employment, and labour relations.
CAMPBELL RIVER - Knowledgeable businesspeople often use arbitration to resolve their labour, business, separation and divorce disputes. Some people use the terms ‘mediation’ and ‘arbitration’ interchangeably, but there is a significant difference.
A mediator assists the parties to negotiate an agreement. Participation is voluntary; the parties can withdraw at any time. The mediator cannot force a settlement. Mediations are timely and inexpensive, but Court enforcement can be complex and expensive if a party fails to comply with an agreement reached.
Arbitration on the other hand results in a final and binding decision (an award), with limited grounds of appeal to the Court. Parties must agree to arbitrate and agree on the arbitrator. If the parties cannot agree on the arbitrator, mandatory appointment processes are available.
The parties can settle their dispute before the arbitrator issues an award, but participation is otherwise mandatory with the award being enforced by the Courts.
Arbitration is also private.
A commercial or family award is not published. An arbitrator works with the parties to tailor the process to the dispute. Flexibility results in some processes looking like a private court case with witnesses testifying, some might involve selecting one of two competing offers, or others may be based on documents only.
Overall it is cheaper than a law suit. An arbitrator can award the actual reasonable legal fees incurred – unlike Courts which award costs, which is much less than fees paid to a lawyer. Almost any business dispute can be arbitrated.
However, sometimes Court makes more sense. For instance, if the matter is small and could be heard in Provincial (Small Claims) Court, the real remedy is against a party with whom there is no arbitration agreement but who may be added into a lawsuit – e.g. a purchaser who bought from a re-seller but the claim is against the manufacturer or if one desires publicity or a court precedent.
The mediation and arbitration processes can maximize mediation’s benefits, with arbitration finality if the parties cannot cut a deal.