What is mediation?

Mediation is a process that attempts to resolve conflict between groups or individuals in a less formal setting. There is an emphasis on understanding other points of view and collaborating to reach solutions or compromises that benefit both parties and conclude the disagreement.

What is a mediator?

A mediator is an individual that is trained to facilitate mediation. The training mediators receive places emphasis on active listening, cultural differences, and interpersonal communication. Mediators may take specialized training in certain areas of conflict, such as those relating to family, the elderly, or community matters.

Who regulates mediation services?

While mediators are not licensed and regulated in the same manner as lawyers and psychologists, there are several bodies of experts that oversee and train practicing mediators. Look for mediators that are members of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institution of Canada (ADRIC) or Family Mediation Canada (FMC), for example.

How long does the mediation process take?

This depends largely on the complexity of the matter and how much conflict is involved. Once resolutions are reached regarding all issues, a formal agreement could be drafted in a matter of days. Really, it’s up to those involved!

Do I need to be in the same room as the other party?

No. While it is typically more efficient to be in the same room, engaging in discussion with the other party, we recognize that this can put unnecessary stress on one or more of the individuals involved. In these cases, your Conflict Coach can put you in separate rooms (a "caucus" scenario) and meet with you individually. That is one of the advantages of our approach - flexibility!

Is mediation legally binding?

No. While agreements reached in mediation can be used to draft formal legal documents (such as court orders), no party is bound or obligated to abide by any discussion that occurred during the mediation. The entire process is without prejudice, which means it cannot be used as evidence in court.

Can a mediator be called as a witness?

No. As mediation is seen as part of the settlement process, the mediator cannot be summoned as a witness to the matter or what was discussed.

Why is mediation without prejudice and what does that mean?

Without prejudice means that something cannot be submitted to a court as evidence. This is actually a good thing when it comes to mediation as it encourages a less adversarial environment where individuals can discuss settlement options, and make resolution offers in good faith, without the concern that the same offers may later be used against them.

What is the difference between mediation and arbitration?

Mediation is a conversation with a neutral third party (the mediator). The aim is resolution, but if the parties cannot agree, no decision is made.

Arbitration is similar to mediation, however, if the parties cannot make a decision or reach consensus, the arbitrator makes a decision that they see as objectively fair. Typically, arbitration is still a voluntary process in which both parties agree at the outset that they will follow whatever direction is given by the arbitrator, should it be required.

FairPlay Mediation does not offer arbitration services at this time, but can refer you to a trusted partner if that is the route you wish to take.

Can mediators give legal advice?

No. Mediators are not lawyers and, as such, cannot give legal advice or direction.

A mediator may, however, offer an opinion based on their own experience if they see it as helpful to the discussion.

All parties are encouraged to seek Independent Legal Advice (ILA) before committing to any legally binding process to ensure that it is understood and that their rights have been protected.

What are the benefits of mediation?

There are many, but the main ones are:

  • It is more affordable than litigation involving lawyers and courts
  • Resolutions are reached for more quickly outside the timeframes of a congested legal system
  • Parties maintain more control over their outcome
  • The mediation process, by its very nature, places an emphasis on flexibility and reduces stress

More information can be found on our home page.

Do I have to attend mediation?

No. It is a voluntary process in which all involved parties must agree to participate.

Here in Alberta, however, the Family Courts have mandated that parties engage in some form of Alternative Dispute Resolution before their matter will be heard. Mediation falls into this category, but it is not the only option.

What issues can FairPlay Mediation assist with?

Mediation is a fluid concept by design and has successfully helped individuals and groups resolve a variety of challenges such as neighbour disputes, workplace disagreements, and entire separations with co-parenting plans. Chances are, if everyone wants to work it out, our process is right for you!

When is mediation not the right choice?

Mediation is not suitable for all conflicts. It is not recommended in cases in which there is an inherent power imbalance (involving domestic violence, for instance) as there is a chance one party will feel coerced into accepting an unfair settlement, fearing repercussions. Mediation requires all parties to communicate honestly with the mediator, and each other, in order to be fair and successful.

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"Justin's ability to calm people down and help them communicate clearly is so impressive. He was able to create a safe environment where everybody felt heard so that mutually beneficial solutions could be explored. I highly recommend his approach over traditional methods involving the courts."

R. C.

"Justin was retained to conduct a mediation on a high conflict parenting dispute. He always remained calm and had a strong attentiveness to detail that allowed the matter to settle with a fair resolution."

C. M. 

"Requiring mediation services is a very difficult journey for all parties, however Justin's thoughtful, as well as transparent, approach made the entire process very smooth. His positive attitude and willingness to go the extra mile for clients is appreciated. I was so impressed and pleased with the mediation service that I got from Justin as well as his professionalism. From the outset, Justin's clear explanations of the method of mediation, issues, and subsequent outcomes was very informative, while allowing me to understand the path during this difficult time. I have no hesitation in recommending Justin Hendriks to all my friends who need this service. I wanted to thank you for helping me settle this case."

L. M.

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