Thursday, June 9, 2011

Interesting look at mediation by our neighbors to the north: judge-led mediation

Mediator Louise Otis, who was just awarded the highest legal honor in Quebec, apparently introduced and implemented a voluntary judicial mediation program offering litigants the possibility of meeting with a judge to resolve their civil, commercial or family disputes – claimed to be the first such system at the appellate level in North America.

Says former Judge Otis, "A judge has to apply the law, but a judge mediator can discuss options for solutions with people and this is the difference. I really think that 90 per cent of all conflicts should be resolved through a useful dialogue, constructive dialogue well guided by a private mediator or a judge mediator. If not, our judicial system will lose legitimacy."

She calls it a living laboratory because it is an integrated hybrid system of justice, where mediation and formal adversarial systems stand side by side. Wait-- I thought that's what we have here in Florida?! I suppose the judicial aspect is more formal in Canada, though are judges are capable and often do act to prompt resolution between the parties if at all possible. This is particularly apparent in the Complex Business Litigation Division in Orlando during case management conferences which require attendance of the litigants.

Read more about Montreal's judge-led mediation programs: