Lawsuits are expensive. Instead of suing, you could negotiate, mediate or arbitrate. Alternative dispute resolution, or ADR as it’s called, is fast, inexpensive and can help you get to a happy place.
Winning is “Easy”, Collecting is Not
Here’s the other thing about going to court. Even if you win, you still have to collect. Successful parties in a lawsuit have to enforce the judgment by hiring a lawyer, collection agency or bailiff. The loser may dispose of cash and assets to avoid settling, be unwilling or unable to pay or have other creditors in line before you. You could have to pay for a lawyer just to collect.
Before You Go to Court
Lost your appetite for going to court? Many disputes, except those involving abuse or violence, can be negotiated. Chatting to the other party by phone or in person or sending a letter is a smart first step. Axess Law’s Ontario lawyers can draft a letter or make the call for you.
Finding an Informal Solution
Negotiation is an informal way to get to yes. Providing your relationship hasn’t completely dissolved, a friend or family member can also be the go between. It’s about compromise.
Expert Negotiators for Any Dispute
If that won’t work, an expert negotiator or lawyer can act for you. They keep your best interests at heart. After all, you could lose your court case and be forced to pay everyone’s court costs. Axess Law can assist you to find an Ontario lawyer or negotiator to handle your dispute.
Other Ways to Be Heard
Government and professional bodies have dispute resolution offices for complaints about Ontario lawyers, bailiffs, judicial officers or insurance agents. Call any Axess Law office for a referral.
To Meditate or Mediate
Cool down! Maybe you can meditate or mediate your dispute to an end. When you stop talking to each other, a mediator helps you compromise (if you can). A civil mediator asks questions, offers solutions and keeps disputes private. Your “adversary” may be only too happy to bring your dispute to an end in a positive way.
Mediation is Quicker Than Court
Lawsuits can go on for months or years. Unexpected events, like COVID-19 or a Grey Cup riot, can clog up the court’s calendar. Mediators, on the other hand, are available five days a week and sometimes on weekends.
Sharing Mediation Costs Saves Money
Compared to going to trial, mediators are relatively inexpensive. You pay a professional mediator to prepare and for time they spend with you. How long they require depends on the number and types of issues involved and how well you get along with other parties. Costs are shared between you and, if your dispute is not too complex, you can hire a beginning or intermediate mediator.
Give Your Side of the Story
Most mediators meet separately with the parties, then together with all of you. They explain how mediation works and give you a chance to present your side. When you are having trouble being heard, the mediator creates a safe space to make your points.
You Still Need a Lawyer
Independent legal opinions are encouraged. Since mediators cannot give legal advice, it is wise to have your lawyer attend. Axess Law lawyers:
- advise you on collecting and presenting evidence
- explain legal rights and obligations
- help you understand Ontario laws
- and review the settlement proposal.
Pre-Court Mediation is Voluntary, Not Mandatory
When you agree to mediation, you agree to try to solve the problem without going to court. Court is still an option if the mediation breaks down. You can even go back to mediation after a court date is set.
Courts Could Require Mediation
Toronto, Ottawa and Windsor courts require mandatory mediation for civil court cases and contested estates, trusts or substitute decision makers (for health care or finances) proceedings. If you cannot agree on a mediator, the court can assign one for you.
Who Can Mediate Your Dispute
Mediators can be lawyers, psychologists, accountants or anyone who has expertise related to your dispute. Axess Law can help you mediate a dispute or find an ADR practitioner anywhere in Ontario.
Ask Before You Hire
Before you sign on the dotted line, ask a potential mediator for their:
- experience and professional background
- fees and expenses
- two to three references
- schedule and availability.
Arbitrate a Dispute That Goes on Too Long
Talked too long? It could be time for arbitration. Arbitrators are neutral third parties who keep your private affairs private. No embarrassing media attention or public records for you or your detractors. Just your evidence, reviewed by an expert you agree to.
Neutral Arbitrator, Unhappy Decision
Be prepared that if you lose, you can’t appeal. Decisions are legally binding and enforceable. On the upside, arbitration is less formal than a trial and cheaper. If you are uncomfortable going to court, ask Axess Law to find you an arbitrator.
Legal Advice for Alternative Dispute Resolution
Before you decide to sue, get legal advice from Axess Law’s Ontario wills and estate lawyers. Book an appointment by calling toll free to 1-877-552-9377 or 647-479-0118 in Toronto or use our online booking form. You can Skype with a lawyer by video call 7 days a week, day or evening. In person appointments can be arranged in Ottawa, Toronto, Scarborough, Etobicoke, Vaughan, Mississauga Winston Churchill or Mississauga Heartland.
Click here to learn more about Axess Law’s wills and estate services.