Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Mediator’s Role?
A mediator is an impartial third party who facilitates communication between two or more parties in dispute. The mediator does not take sides or make decisions for the parties. The mediator helps to create a safe environment where the parties can discuss issues in an open and respectful manner. The mediator helps the parties to explore and understand the issues in dispute, develop alternatives, make informed decisions and work toward reaching a practical and mutually-satisfying agreement.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a non-adversarial process where a trained and impartial third-person -- the mediator -- helps the parties to come to a mutually acceptable agreement. The mediator facilitates communication, promotes understanding and assists the parties to identify their needs and interests. The mediator uses problem solving techniques to help the parties to tailor their own agreement. Mediation is a positive, cost-effective alternative to solving disputes in court. The process is private and confidential.
What issues can be mediated?
Almost every dispute can be mediated, including those civil disputes involving contracts, leases, small business ownership, employment, and others. Likewise family disputes are very good candidates for mediation. Disputes appropriate for mediation may involve a single difficult issue, multiple issues, a long-standing conflict, or a conflict that cannot be avoided because of continuing contacts between or among the parties.
Is mediation confidential?
The general rule in mediation is that everything said at the mediation is confidential to the parties (unless specifically agreed otherwise). Discussions during mediation cannot be given as evidence at trial.
Is mediation legally binding?
Nothing is binding upon any party until an agreed settlement is reached. Once a settlement has been drawn up and signed it becomes an enforceable contract between the parties. It is therefore in the interest of each party to have the agreement reviewed by a lawyer before accepting it. The mediation process is "without prejudice", so that on occasions where a settlement is not reached, litigation may continue without the fear that anything which may have been said during the mediation could be used by the other party in court.
Do I need a lawyer in mediation?
In Mediation the parties make their own decisions. The mediator’s role is not to act as a judge, an advocate, to give legal advice or to protect any party’s interests. It is therefore advisable for each party to retain a lawyer for legal advice. At the end of the mediation process, the mediator normally provides a summary of the agreement to be reviewed by the parties. It is recommended that the agreement be reviewed by a lawyer before being accepted and finalized. A lawyer can also have the agreement incorporated into a court order or a legally binding agreement, should it be beneficial.
If I need a lawyer anyway, why shouldn’t I get a lawyer rather than a mediator?
While some accredited mediators are also lawyers, many are not. The role of a mediator is very different from that of a lawyer. The mediator functions as a neutral who facilitates an agreement between the parties. By law, a lawyer may represent only one party to a dispute.
How long does mediation take?
The time can vary widely depending on a number of factors, such as the type of matter being mediated, the commitment and flexibility of the parties, and the complexity of the issues involved.
How does JusticeNet work?
When using JusticeNet's website for the first time, the user is asked to select from one of three professions: lawyers, mediators or paralegals. This selection is remembered and the website is tailored to that profession. Users can then browse JusticeNet's online directory and locate a professional in the field they require who is in their area. As each professional will only take a limited number of clients you may need to call more than one professional listed in the directory to make an appointment.
Who qualifies for this service?
JusticeNet is currently available to anyone living in Ontario whose net family income is under $70,000, or families of three or more members whose net family income is under $90,000 and who are ineligible for provincial legal aid.
Is a professional (lawyer, mediator, paralegal, law firm, etc.) listed on this directory obliged to take my case?
No. Each participating professional or firm may set their own limits as to the number of JusticeNet cases they wish to take for a given period of time. Please contact each desired professional directly to determine their availability.
Is the information in this Directory up-to-date?
We make every effort to keep the information contained in this website current. To do so, we rely on the listed professionals to regularly provide us with correct and up-to-date information. Therefore, we suggest that you get in touch with your chosen professional directly to confirm any necessary details found on this site (for example, practice opening hours).