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Access to mediation key component of system

Richard-Worsfold

Swift access to mediation is vital for litigants, Toronto personal injury lawyer Richard Worsfold says in Law Times, noting his skepticism of a pilot project meant to tackle the backlog of mediations and arbitrations at the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO).  Read Law Times  

“Persons who are denied benefits, who can be quite vulnerable, need quick access to mediation,” Worsfold, partner with Basman Smith LLP, says in the report. “The percentage of mediations that resolve matters is quite high. It will be a shame if people have to wait or be forced to go to court without waiting for mediation.” 

Now receiving 2,000 mediations and 500 arbitrations a month, ADR Chambers hopes to help improve the FSCO system, as the commission worries the backlog in mediations will simply move to the arbitration arena while it encourages parties to remain in the queue for mediation, Law Times reports. The goal, the report says, is for the average wait time for mediation to quickly decrease as ADR Chambers shoulders some of the workload.

Worsfold, who specializes in alternative dispute resolution, is eager to see if ADR Chambers can do what FSCO didn’t.

“It will be very disappointing if a backlog develops there. Then people will skip mediation and go straight to court,” he says in Law Times.