Mediation Diversity Enshrined in New Code of Civil Procedure

Wednesday, 26 March 2014, 21:06 | Category : Mediation, News
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A 2-year campaign led by the Network for a Transformative Approach to Conflict to enshrine diversity of mediation in the new Quebec Civil Code of Procedure has met with success.  Adopted by unanimous vote of the Quebec National Assembly on February 20th, 2014, Bill 28 creates an obligation to consider recourse to negotiation, mediation, or arbitration before addressing the courts.  Although generally supportive of this legislation, members of the Network had serious reservations about the restrictive way mediation was originally described in the proposed bill, leading to a reductive “one-size-fits-all” approach.

In response to briefs filed by the Network in 2012 and 2013, the government agreed to take concrete measures to foster mediation diversity. In an official Commentary on Article 605 of Bill 28, Justice Minister Bertrand St-Arnaud indicated that the amendment “clarifies the application of this article so that it can be adapted to diverse forms and purposes of mediation.”  Paragraph 2 of Article 610, which would have had a chill effect on frank, open communication between parties in mediation, was also withdrawn at our recommendation.

By the time our second brief was presented in parliamentary hearings in Quebec City last fall, it had garnered the support of an impressive cross-section of senior Quebec mediators from various mediation traditions.  Thanks to the seriousness of our research, the breadth of our outreach, and the depth of our support, the Minister of Justice was able to see the importance of making space for present and future diversity of mediation practice, ensuring that the field will continue to develop and evolve in years to come.

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