18 February 2009

Notice to Mediate expands to Vancouver and New Westminster Supreme Court Registries

The Notice to Mediate (Family) Regulation, BC Reg 296/2007, a regulation made under the Law and Equity Act, was expanded on 1 January 2009 to include the Vancouver and New Westminster registries of the Supreme Court.

The full text of the regulation can be found at the website of the Attorney General, along with the AG's fact sheet for lawyers and mediators.

In essence, the regulation says this:
  • a party may trigger a mediation by delivering a Notice to Mediate (s. 3)
  • the Notice to Mediate can be delivered between 90 days after the filed of a statement of defence and 90 days before the date of trial (s. 5)
  • within 14 days of delivery, the parties must agree to a mediator (s. 6)
  • failing agreement, a mediator will be appointed by a “roster organization” (ss. 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11)
  • the mediator will have a screening session before the first meeting (ss. 12 and 13)
  • the mediation session must occur within 60 days of the appointment of the mediator but not less than 14 days before trial (s. 24)
  • the parties must deliver Statements of Facts and Issues to the mediator at least 14 days before the mediation session (s. 27)
  • the parties must attend the screening session and the mediation session, with or without counsel, and may send a representative to attend in their place (ss. 16, 17, 18 and 19)
  • a limited form of confidentiality applies at the mediation session, read this carefully (ss. 37 and 38)
  • the mediator may conduct the screening session and the mediation session as he or she thinks fit, and may terminate the mediation if he or she thinks it appropriate to do so (ss. 15 and 33)
  • at the conclusion of mediation, the mediator must deliver a Certificate of Conclusion of Mediation to the parties and to the AG’s DRO office (ss. 39 and 40)
It is unclear how forcing someone to mediate will be effective if they won't agree to it voluntarily. Nevertheless, I do hope there is some salutary value in the regulation. Time will tell.