Services  /  Med-Arb

We recommend Med-Arb as your most effective alternative dispute resolution process in most disputes. We provide in-person and virtual med-arb services in the GTA and across Ontario. 

What is Med-Arb?

Mediation-Arbitration (Med-Arb) is an integrated hybrid process that combines the best aspects of mediation and arbitration. While it is a less-known process in the world of alternative dispute resolution, it offers the assurance of a timely, cost-effective, and binding decision. Colm Brannigan was the first person in Canada to receive the C. Med-Arb designation from the ADR Institute of Canada.

How does Med-Arb work?

In a med-arb process, you first try to resolve the dispute through mediation with the help of a med-arbitrator. Any issues that have not been resolved through the mediation phase will be decided by the med-arbitrator. Before starting the arbitration phase, the parties must decide on what issues will be transitioned from the mediation to arbitration process.

Benefits of Med-Arb

While mediation is often the ideal alternative dispute resolution process for many types of disputes because it can repair damaged relationships and set out a path forward, there is no guarantee of settlement through mediation. Because of this, parties may try to avoid mediation and go directly to arbitration or litigation.

Sometimes one or more aspects of the dispute can be resolved through mediation, but others cannot as the mediator does not have the power to impose a settlement.

If that happens, the parties must continue through arbitration or litigation, both of which are expensive and time-consuming.

There is another alternative: Med-arb. There is a crucial and sometimes controversial difference between med-arb and separate mediation and arbitration processes. In med-arb the same person acts both as mediator and, if necessary, arbitrator. There are other med-arb options including using two separate neutrals, one as mediator and the other as arbitrator, or using an opt-out type of process at the end of the mediation phase, where the parties decide to choose another individual to act as the arbitrator.

Med-Arb combines both the mediation and arbitration processes into an integrated fair, cost-effective and efficient process that guarantees an outcome to the parties.

Med-arb is now being used more often in a growing number of disputes.

About Med-Arb

  • Med-arb has been used for decades in labour and family disputes. It is also used in commercial, construction and condominium disputes and many other types of disputes including employment and estates.
  • In med-arb, the “mediator-arbitrator” or “med-arbitrator” first attempts to help the disputing parties work out a settlement as a mediator, but if the mediation fails, the med-arbitrator then becomes an arbitrator and makes a binding decision.
  • Med-arb can prevent an “all or nothing” approach to negotiating a resolution because some, if not all, of the issues in the dispute can be resolved by agreement in the mediation.
  • In med-arb knowing that any issues not settled in mediation will be resolved by arbitration, provides an incentive to engage more meaningfully in mediation.
  • Med-arb is based on informed consent and empowers the parties to maintain control. This may preserve relationships and enhance the potential for long-term commitment to the outcomes reached in mediation.
  • Med-arb facilitates communication between the parties by providing a collaborative non-adversarial environment for those discussions in its mediation phase.
  • The Med-Arb Agreement must be carefully and clearly written so that everyone involved understands the process.
  • A properly designed and implemented med-arb process can lead to a fair, cost efficient and speedy resolution of disputes that are very important to you, but may not justify the expense of using separate mediation and arbitration processes.

Understanding the med-arb process, especially the transition from the mediation phase into the arbitration phase, is extremely important and crucial to the success of the process. Med-arb is not for every dispute but when it is used, it will save both money and time.

We are acknowledged experts in developing and providing med-arb services in Canada. Colm Brannigan was the first person in Canada to receive the C. Med-Arb designation from the ADR Institute of Canada.

To discuss whether your dispute may be suitable for med-arb, please contact us.

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