Med/arb – could this alternative Canadian concept work for us?

Med/arb – could this alternative Canadian concept work for us?

‘It’s not often that the colonials can teach the Brits anything but maybe this once.’

This was Levison Meltzer Pigott partner Jeremy Levison’s introduction to Stephen Grant, a Canadian family lawyer who, while in London last month, shared his experiences of mediation/arbitration, or med/arb, with a group of forty London-based family lawyers and judges.

Stephen’s entertaining endorsement of the process, which we don’t practice here in the UK, sparked lively debate at the Levison Meltzer Pigott hosted event at the Vitrine Art Gallery.

Stephen’s credentials are second to none. He is an experienced family lawyer; principal of the Toronto-based counsel and ADR firm Grant & Sadvari and has appeared in courts across the country as well as the Supreme Court of Canada. He is a mediator/arbitrator, certified by the ADR Institute of Ontario  as a family arbitrator and founded Resolutions Inc., a dispute resolution collective, in the early 1990s. Stephen is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL) as well as a fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers of which he was the first President of the Canadian Chapter. He is the editor of the Advocates’ Journal, the publication of the Advocates’ Society, co-editor of the ACTL Bulletin and editor-in-chief of the Ontario Reports. He is the co-author of Lawyers’ Professional Liability, now in its 3rd edition, and was awarded the Law Society Medal in 2006.

Jeremy Levison, founding partner of boutique London-based family firm Levison Meltzer Pigott, has had a long association with Stephen and has been fortunate, through him, to become familiar with and indeed a supporter of the med/arb process.  Whether this country is ready to embrace this alternative form of dispute resolution is far from clear but Jeremy happily seized the opportunity of Stephen’s visit to London to ensure that, at this time of exploration of other possibilities in avoiding full-on litigation, this Canadian concept is part of the mix.

So what is med/arb?

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