3 posts categorized "Mini-trial"

October 30, 2016

Toronto Speaks Out in the World of Commercial Dispute Resolution

The Global Pound Conference event was held in Toronto on October 15, 2016, the only Canadian venue.

In 2016 participants with an interest in the legal system are invited to join a world-wide, 15-month-long conversation being convened by the International Mediation Institute. There are currently 40 events planned in 31 countries starting in Singapore in March 2016 and ending in London, U.K. in July, 2017.

Forty years ago modern mediation began after the Roscoe Pound Conference in St Paul, Minnesota in 1976, a historic gathering to discuss ways to address then-current dissatisfaction with the American legal system and to reform the administration and delivery of justice.  The Global Pound Conference is the much-expanded update of that event.

At all Global Pound Conference events core questions are posed and then voted on by participants with the goal of collecting information to develop future initiatives for better access to justice, locally and globally.

In Toronto several panels of local experts responded to the voting results that day on each series of core questions. This was added to the engaging day-long discussion of better, more appropriate dispute resolution for commercial matters and how to get there. 

The Global Pound Conference participants/ stakeholders are categorized and comparisons are made in the responses between the categories. The stakeholder categories are Party/User, Advisor (lawyer, consultant), Adjudicative Provider (arbitrator, judge), Non-Adjudicative Provider (mediator, conciliator), and Influencer (educator, researcher, government).

The Toronto data identified some thought-provoking comparisons.

For example, Parties, Advisors, Adjudicative Providers, and Influencers rated financial outcomes, such as damages as the most important before starting a process in commercial dispute resolution. In contrast only Non-Adjudicative Providers rated financial outcomes slightly lower than and about equal to action-focused outcomes (prevent or require an action from a party). 

Another interesting comparison between the stakeholder groups in Toronto was that Parties, Adjudicative and Non-Adjudicative Providers ranked the combination of adjudicative and non-adjudicative processes (such as arbitration or litigation with mediation or conciliation) as the most effective dispute resolution process. In contrast Advisors and Influencers ranked preventative, pre-dispute or pre-escalation processes as most effective.

All stakeholder groups in Toronto ranked Advisors as being most likely to be resistant to change in commercial dispute resolution practice.

Another interesting comparison was the stakeholder group perceptions of the role parties want lawyers to take in the dispute resolution process. Parties said they want lawyers to work collaboratively with them to navigate the process. Advisors, Adjudicative and Non-Adjudicative Providers all said that the parties want lawyers to speak for them or advocate on their behalf. 

For those of us working in commercial dispute resolution despite the disappointingly small sample size in Toronto, there is lots to learn already from the local data, and there is much more to discover as the global data is collected.

For full information and the app to see the voting results check out the Global Pound Conference.

June 27, 2016

Join the Global Conversation about Conflict Management

What if you could tell the legal system and its professionals what you want and need to manage conflict - in your business, in your community, or in your life?  In 2016 you have an opportunity to do just that.

Modern mediation began after the Roscoe Pound Conference in St Paul, Minnesota in 1976, a historic gathering to discuss ways to address then-current dissatisfaction with the American legal system and to reform the administration and delivery of justice.

Forty years later, in 2016 we are all invited to join a much expanded world-wide, 15-month-long conversation being convened by the International Mediation Institute.

The first Global Pound Conference event was held in Singapore on March 17-18, 2016.   Singapore Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon opened the whole conference series by outlining the shift to “appropriate” dispute resolution from “alternative” dispute resolution; secondly, greater international collaboration between courts and governments and through this the development of countries’ best practices whether common law or civil law; and thirdly, recognition of the need for international delivery of legal services.  

The last stop on the tour is July 6, 2017 in London, U.K. The only Canadian event is Saturday, October 15, 2016 in Toronto, in conjunction with the annual conference of the ADR Institute of Canada. 

Core questions will be posed at all of the events with the goal of collecting information to develop future initiatives. The participants/ stakeholders are categorized and comparisons are made in the responses between the categories.  The stakeholder categories are Party/User, Advisor (lawyer, consultant), Adjudicative Provider (arbitrator, judge), Non-Adjudicative Provider (mediator, conciliator), and Influencer (educator, researcher, government).

The data is already identifying thought-provoking comparisons.

For example, at the Singapore event, in response to a core question about what is the greatest influence on parties when deciding which type of dispute resolution process to use, Advisors ranked legal advice top. Users, as well as both Adjudicative and Non-Adjudicative providers all ranked efficiency first and then legal advice much lower.

Another interesting contrast between the stakeholder groups was that Advisors were the only stakeholder category to rank purely adjudicative dispute resolution processes highly.

All stakeholder groups in Singapore ranked the combination of adjudicative and non-adjudicative processes (such as arbitration or litigation with mediation or conciliation) as the most effective dispute resolution process, despite the fact that this combination is much less available in practice. All stakeholders were in agreement that combining adjudicative and non-adjudicative processes should be prioritized in order to improve the future of dispute resolution.

Join the conversation. For full information check out the Global Pound Conference.

January 22, 2014

Note to lawyers: People involved in lawsuits prefer mediation

  “People involved in civil lawsuits prefer mediation to nonbinding arbitration”.   That finding by a law professor from University of California, Davis,  is no surprise to me, nor probably to many other mediators.

In my opinion this is valuable information for lawyers seeking to provide the legal services most valuable to their clients.   It is also worth consideration for civil courts seeking to offer alternatives to trial which are most helpful for the people involved in lawsuits.

In the study the clear preference of over 400 litigants from 19 US states was for mediation over nonbinding arbitration. "This finding helps to resolve a long-standing debate over which of the two procedures litigants prefer," according to the researcher, Donna Shestowsky.

The study also found that the litigants preferred to have their lawyers conduct negotiations with the litigants present rather than negotiate between the lawyers only.

 It is likely that a study of litigants  in Canada would have similar results. The preference to be involved with their lawyers in negotiations seems to match well with the preference for mediation. 

 Mediation and nonbinding arbitration are very common alternatives  to trial.   Forms of nonbinding  arbitration  may be called mini-trial or early neutral evaluation.  The distinction is that a mediator will help the parties negotiate to find a resolution acceptable to each of them.  The arbitrator is not involved in the negotiations and provides only an opinion of liability and, if applicable, of the amount of damages. 

 More information about the study:  http://www.centralvalleybusinesstimes.com/stories/001/?ID=24986