Dispute Resolution Reference Guide


The Dispute Resolution Reference Guide

This Reference Guide is designed to provide Justice counsel with practical information about Dispute Resolution (“DR”) processes and to allow counsel to remain current with developments in the rapidly evolving field of DR. It contains information directed at counsel with varying levels of familiarity with and practical experience in DR.

The term “Dispute Resolution” (“DR”) rather than “Alternative Dispute Resolution” (“ADR”), is used by the Project to reflect the philosophy that processes such as mediation, arbitration and mini-trial, together with litigation, form a broad spectrum of dispute resolution options. Non-litigious DR processes are therefore perceived as complements to litigation, rather than strictly as alternatives. Our particular focus is on non-litigious DR processes, as the Civil Litigation Branch is responsible for providing legal advice and representation in relation to litigated disputes.

The DR field continues to evolve in Canada. Currently, there are no uniform standards of practice or qualifications for non-litigation DR practitioners. DR is a multi-disciplinary field, involving both lawyers and non-lawyers practising in a variety of subject areas and with a variety of philosophies. Generally speaking, this flourishing practice can be said to be a response, in part, to dissatisfaction with the current court system's ability to provide timely, effective and efficient resolution of all disputes. Non-litigious DR seeks to provide parties to a dispute with a mechanism for resolution which is chosen to reflect the particular nature of the dispute and the needs and interests of the parties. In certain cases, traditional litigation is the most appropriate mechanism for resolution; in others, another mechanism may be more appropriate; in others still, these other mechanisms can be used within a litigated dispute to resolve particular issues and streamline the litigation. The goal is to provide a fair, effective and efficient resolution of a dispute.

Law Practice Management Division (LPMD) will continue to update and amend the Reference Guide. As new DR processes develop and become more widely used in Canada, individual practice modules in respect of those processes will be added to the Reference Guide.

At all times, DRS is available to provide further information and advice concerning any of the information contained in the Reference Guide. LPMD can be reached at LPMD-DGPD@justice.gc.ca.