Mediators and arbitrators play an important role in Access to Justice

Access to Justice Week (Jan. 24 to 31, 2021)


As today marks the last day of the Access to Justice Week in BC, it provides an opportunity for the legal community including judges, lawyers and alternative dispute resolution practitioners to reflect on what we can do to further enhance access to justice.


What does Access to Justice mean?


For different people and situations people are in, “access to justice” may have different meaning.


As a volunteer helping self-represented litigations (“SRL”) for over 10 years, I have come to realized that many of the SRLs have come to us because they feel “lost” in the “maze” of our legal system and they cannot afford legal representation. Without someone to help them navigate the maze, the court system seems distant and foreign. For SRL’s, access to justice means having access to information on the What, Where, When, How. It also means they can feel confident that a “navigator” will be there to guide them when they need from beginning to the resolution of their case.


Do mediators and arbitrators have a role in enhancing Access to Justice?


Do mediators and arbitrators have a role in enhancing Access to Justice?


The court is just one of the many ways people involve in legal problems can resolve their disputes. Many alternatives such as mediation and arbitration enhances Access to Justice as these alternatives to litigation helps people move past their disputes and move on with their lives in more affordable, flexible and timely manner.


The Civil Resolution Tribunal (“CRT”) is one of the most innovative creations in British Columbia that provides an affordable and easy to navigate alternative for people to resolve their legal disputes. It works like the court whereby it also has limitation dates, procedural rules, and a tribunal member decides on the outcome of the dispute. However, it can only resolve disputes involving monetary amounts up to $5,000.


Arbitration is similar to the CRT whereby an arbitrator decides the outcome of the disputes. It is different than the court and the CRT as it is private and confidential and has a flexible procedural scheme. It also has no limit to the disputed monetary amount.


Mediation provides the parties with the most control in resolving their disputes. It is different from arbitration and the formal legal system as the parties themselves have total control of the outcome of the disputes. The parties agree on a mutually acceptable outcome with the help of a mediator.


As the court system is the least affordable, least flexible and takes the longest time from start to finish, mediators and arbitrators have an important role in the Access to Justice movement.


It is my goal and passion to help more people achieve an amicable resolution to their dispute. If you have a legal or non-legal dispute, and want to resolve your it in a fast and less expensive way, please contact me at: amityresolution@gmail.com


If you’re interested in learning stories about access to justice, please visit https://accesstojusticebc.ca/2020/06/the-a2jbc-story/


#AccessToJustice

#mediation

#arbitration

#CivilResolutionTribunal

#SelfRepresentedLitigants






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