Thomas G. Heintzman, O.C., Q.C., FCIArb

English Courts Enforce An Obligation To Mediate And Negotiate

The articles on this site have often alerted the readers to the hidden dangers of mediation and negotiation clauses in construction contracts. The principle danger is that these sorts of clauses may be unenforceable, for two reasons. The wording of the particular clause may be drafted in such a way as to create no enforceable […]

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The Supreme Court Of Canada Holds That A Mediation Agreement Doesn’t Preclude Proof That There Was Or Wasn’t A Settlement

The Supreme Court recently released its decision in Union Carbide Canada Inc. v. Bombardier Inc., 2014 SCC 35. In that decision, the Supreme Court dealt with two principles relating to mediations. The first principle is that settlement discussions are inherently confidential and therefore privileged from disclosure.  This principle is not based on statute law. Rather, […]

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Does An Informal Agreement To Mediate Stop The Limitation Period From Running?

Mediation seems like apple juice:  no harm in taking it and it might do some good. But mediation has a trap: — the limitation period. If a party enters into mediation and lets the limitation period go by, then that’s real harm. In a number of reported cases, one party to a mediation did exactly […]

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When Does An Arbitration Clause Require Arbitration?

Whether an arbitration agreement requires, or only permits, arbitration is a continuing issue under arbitration law. In building contracts, this issue often arises when the agreement states that arbitration will follow mediation or the involvement of the consultant on the project. The questions that can arise is whether arbitration is mandatory if mediation or the […]

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Does A Mediation Agreement Suspend The Limitation Period Or The Period To Set Down A Lien For Trial?

An agreement to mediate is often found in arbitration and building contracts. Yet, the impact of mediation upon court or arbitral proceedings is uncertain. Does an agreement to mediate mean that, until the mediation occurs, there is no cause of action and therefore there is no entitlement to commence arbitration or an action?  In that […]

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Is An Agreement To Mediate Enforceable?

A recurring issue in arbitration and construction law is whether an agreement to mediate is enforceable. That is because an arbitration or building contract may contain a clause imposing an obligation to mediate before arbitrating. If the agreement to mediate is enforceable, that likely has certain consequences.  The limitation period is likely not running and […]

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Six Points To Consider Before Commencing An Arbitration

On October 10, 2012, I gave a speech at an Advocates’ Society program.  The program was  entitled Arbitration is the New Black.  My presentation focused on seven issues which should be addressed when a party is contemplating the commencement of an arbitration. Starting the arbitration seems like the easiest thing in the world.  After all, […]

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When Is A Mediation Agreement Enforceable?

One of the most difficult issues in the law of alternative dispute resolution is whether a mediation clause creates an enforceable obligation.  That issue has an impact on related issues and rights.  If a party gets the issue wrong, it may miss a limitation period or affect its right to rely upon an arbitration or […]

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