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Mediation and Arbitration: Introducing Canada’s “Med-Arb” Rules

Negotiation, Mediation, Arbitration

What Is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

Did you know that not all legal disputes have to go to court? Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ADR, is a method of less-formal procedures that help opposing parties come to a resolution, without going to court. Alternative Dispute Resolution usually saves time and money, and often gives both parties more control over the end result.

Types of Alternative Dispute Resolution

Think of Alternative Dispute Resolution as the opposite of litigation, or going to court. Most commonly, there are three different types of ADR: negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.


Negotiation is the most common form of Alternative Dispute Resolution because it’s often the simplest and cheapest. When two people have a disagreement or legal dispute, negotiation consists of both parties discussing the problem and reaching a mutual agreement together. You can do this on your own, or use a lawyer, advocate, or counsellor to help negotiate on your behalf.
Negotiation is a great option because it allows both parties to work together to come to a solution that best suits your own needs and interests.


Mediation differs from negotiation by involving a neutral third party or “mediator” to resolve the disagreement. A mediator should be an unbiased and impartial person whose role is to facilitate communication between the two parties.

Ultimately, the goal of mediation is not to determine who is right and wrong, but to find a mutually agreeable solution that satisfies everyone. Oftentimes, mediation leads to solutions that are more creative than what a court could provide. However, it’s more costly than negotiation as you must pay for the mediator’s services.

It’s important to remember that a mediator cannot force you to settle or accept the resolution.


If you’re unable to resolve the disagreement yourself during negotiation or mediation, arbitration is a third form of Alternative Dispute Resolution. Similar to mediation, arbitration involves a neutral third party. However, arbitration also involves an arbitrator who, like trials in court, acts like a judge who can make decisions based on the facts, evidence, and law.

Although arbitration resembles trial in court, it’s a lot more private. In fact, unlike litigation where the details of your case are open to public, arbitration is completely confidential.

Plus, both parties may have the option to choose whether an arbitrator’s decision will be binding or not. However, since it is more formal and complex, arbitration tends to be the most expensive form of ADR.

What are the advantages of ADR?

There are many potential advantages of Alternative Dispute Resolution including:

  • Faster resolution

  • Less expensive procedures

  • Greater control by the parties

  • Confidentiality

  • Overall, Alternative Dispute Resolution is an excellent option for most people involved in a legal dispute who don’t want to, or don’t need to, go to court. Plus, Canada is working on introducing more legal guidelines for ADR options. Learn more by visiting our recent blog.

    To determine if ADR is right for you, contact Sicotte Guilbault today. Our legal experts will help you understand the circumstances of your situation and choose the approach that’s right for you and your family.

    by: Maxime Desforges - Lawyer
    posted on: March 19, 2020