The Med-Arbitrator

 

A neutral and experienced decision maker who can mediate a settlement or make a binding decision if the parties cannot reach an agreement.

PAUL E. LOVE, BSc, LLB, FCIarb, C.Arb, DipICarb

  • called to the Bar in British Columbia in 1985
  • arbitrator, mediator, trial lawyer
  • Civil litigation experience
  • Arbitration and Mediation training and experience
  • Designated as a Family Law Arbitrator and Family Law Mediator by the
    Law Society of British Columbia
  • Chartered Arbitrator (B.C.), Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK), Diploma in International Commercial Arbitration

THE ADVANTAGES

  • You choose your decision maker
  • Your decision maker will have experience in decision making in assessing facts and applying the law;
  • The process can be tailored to the nature of the dispute;
  • The meetings can be scheduled quickly;
  • More certainty of proceeding on the date set for hearing than for trial;
  • The process is private, any decisions are private and the decisions are not precedents;
  • Inexpensive compared to a protracted law suit;
  • The award is rendered in writing in a timely manner after the close of evidence.

THE PROCESS

The parties refer a dispute to a med-arbitrator. The parties are required to attend family violence screening and sign a med-arb agreement. Once the med-arbitrator is appointed, the process is in the mediation phase. The med-arbitrator will assist the parties to negotiate a settlement to some or all of the issues. That may include separate meetings with each of the parties. If it becomes clear that continued mediation will not succeed, the arbitrator will move the process into the arbitration phase. The parties cannot withdraw from the med-arb process but both can agree to terminate the med-arbitrator’s appointment.

In the arbitration phase, the med-arbitrator takes conduct of the arbitration, according to a set of rules. Generally, the information communicated to the med-arbitrator in the mediation process is not used to decide the issues in arbitration unless the parties agree that the information can be used. In the arbitration phase the med-arbitrator makes decisions based on the information presented in the arbitration phase.

There is considerable flexibility for the parties and the arbitrator to define a med-arb process which fits the dispute. Some of the options include:

“documents only”, where there is no hearing but the decision is made on the basis of written briefs and documents.

“final offer”, where the arbitrator chooses only between the final offers presented by the parties.

“inquisitorial”, where the arbitrator asks all the questions, with the input of the parties


An arbitration award can be with or without written reasons. The parties cannot agree to exclude an appeal from a family award.

A typical arbitration can be similar to an informal trial. There is a pre-hearing conference, usually by telephone, to deal with all preliminary matters. At the main hearing, where the parties appear in person in front of the arbitrator, the parties can make an opening statement. Witnesses called give evidence under oath or affirmation. A witness can be questioned or cross-examined. An arbitrator may call witnesses, in particular expert witnesses, and if he does so the parties can cross-examine that witness. The parties make closing statements. The arbitrator decides the issues put before him on the evidence and relevant law. The arbitrator issues an award or decision. An arbitrator can award costs. An arbitration decision or award can be enforced as a court order, with leave of the court. A party can choose to be represented by counsel.

THE COSTS AND FACILITIES

Arbitration hearings are generally conducted in a private venue, convenient to the parties. My hearing day rate is $2,400 per day plus GST. Other arbitration services including conference calls, preparation, and writing are charged at a rate of $300 per hour plus GST. Generally, in the first instance each party pays one half of the fees and disbursements and the arbitrator can award costs which can include the full arbitrator’s fees and the parties legal expenses. I will travel for hearings at the convenience of the parties. I have a hearing room available which is suitable for some meetings and I have video conferencing services available.