Alternatives to going to court

Did you know that the majority of disputes are not resolved in court? In fact, very few disputes get to that point because there are much less rigid, less expensive and faster ways to resolve them. Alternative dispute resolution is one of these means.

Out-of-court solutions within the reach of citizens

Negotiation, mediation and arbitration are among the tools available to individuals to resolve their disputes out of court.

Negotiations can take place between both parties, with or without legal counsel, in a context of discussion to reach a compromise.

As for mediation, it involves calling on a mediator, who is an independent professional and external to the dispute, who will help both parties reach an agreement by suggesting a settlement. As the mediator is not a judge, their conclusion does not have the force of law, but remains a proposal.

Lastly, arbitration involves an arbitrator, who is a neutral professional, whose role is to hear the parties and make a final decision. Arbitration is a more formal process than negotiation and mediation, because the decision is usually final.

Administrative tribunals

Administrative tribunals run in parallel and are not part of the Canadian judicial system, but are often considered to be quasi-judicial because they engage in fact-finding and have the power to impact personal rights. Administrative tribunals are independent government organizations that play an important role in resolving administrative conflicts.

Administrative tribunals are composed of professionals who specialize in the application of government laws and regulations. These include employment insurance, disability benefits, immigration and refugees, human rights, etc.

The judge of an administrative court does not have the powers of a judge of the formal court system. However, their decisions are infrequently challenged by the court, because administrative court adjudicators are experts with in-depth knowledge of certain fields.