Angela Price-Stephens is Chair of the Mediation Services Group. She is a certified and experienced mediator having trained in the UK (Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution) the USA (Pepperdine University, CA) and Canada (Justice Institute of BC; Community Mediation, Ottawa). She is a Certified Mediator and on the Civil Roster of Mediate BC. Angela has been mediating disputes in a variety of forums since 2005.
We are in the business of helping our clients succeed and effectively resolve their disputes in the most efficient, timely manner. While we have highly competent, experienced litigators in a broad range of practice areas we also recognize that pursuing a decision in the courts may not be the most desirable method of resolution. Submissions in court, like the court decision itself, is public. Litigation is a time consuming and costly process which may irreparably harm important relationships – be they personal or professional – which may negatively impact future business or personal opportunities.
Where it is appropriate to do so, we offer an alternative to the traditional negotiations which typically accompany litigation. Mediation is a confidential and flexible process which is undertaken on a ‘without prejudice’ basis. This means whatever is discussed, said or admitted in mediation cannot be relied upon in litigation or referred to in court without the express permission of all parties. An experienced mediator has the skills to customize the process to suit the needs of the parties. The mediator’s role is to act as a neutral third party to facilitate discussions between the parties. There is no one formula that fits all situations. The parties may be willing and able to sit together to find a solution or it may be necessary to engage in ‘shuttle mediation’ where the participants are not able to, or choose not to, be present in the room together for long but are still motivated to reach a conclusion to the dispute. Typically, a mediation is a combination of both.
Mediators maintain confidentiality and remain impartial throughout the process. The mediator will also help the parties to finalize a written agreement which may be binding in court, if the parties decide that is what they want. Mediation therefore can be a way to avoid or side step existing litigation and still obtain the certainty afforded by the court. This may be especially helpful where matters in dispute are private or commercially sensitive and relationships need to be respected.
Many types of dispute may be suitable for mediation including:
- strata disputes
- wills and estate disputes
- commercial disputes
- construction disputes
- employment matters
- claims for compensation for personal injury
- claims of professional negligence
Fees are offered according to the complexity of the dispute, including the number of parties involved and the time requirement. Fees are normally shared equally among the participants, unless otherwise agreed. If you wish to consider mediation as a potential means to resolve a dispute please contact a team member for further information.