Frequently Asked Questions
Find the Answers You Need
Conflict resolution is a complex matter. There are many factors that impact the severity of a conflict and many factors that can lead to a resolution. Oftentimes, a solution can be as simple as gaining an alternative opinion. Other instances, however, may require more intense approaches, such as litigation and arbitration.
Before you look into any of these approaches, be sure to take a look through our FAQ section. It’s home to questions we find ourselves commonly answering. You may find the information that you need or you may receive the guidance that will help you to understand what type of services you require to reach a resolution.
How long will my matter take to reach a conclusion?
This will depend on the facts and the willingness of the parties to face the primary issues. Some matters may be resolved very quickly others, unfortunately may take years. Our objective is to get you to a satisfactory conclusion as soon as possible but without compromising your claim just to get it done; you own the file and you have to be satisfied with the outcome. Matters will not languish, our preference is to assist you to maintain the pace of the transition to the end.
Are you able to work for both sides of a dispute at the same time?
Yes, some fact situations allow us to act for both sides. These collaborative engagements often present the best opportunity to keep the acrimony between the parties to a minimum. Because of the potential for conflict that arises whenever we are representing more than one client on matters on which each client has separate and potentially conflicting interests, we can accept such an engagement only if (1) we believe that we can provide competent and diligent representation to each client, and (2) when we have the informed consent, given by each client to the terms of the joint retainer as they relate to conflicts and confidentiality. In such engagements it must be understood at the outset that no information received in connection with one party can be treated as confidential so far as the other party is concerned. If a dispute develops that cannot be resolved, we cannot continue to act for both, or either of you, and we may have to withdraw completely.
When you do act for both sides of a dispute, what is the process that happens?
The process starts with an explanation of the joint representation and what it means. When all questions are answered regarding the engagement and when everyone agrees to proceed, a written confirmation of the engagement is signed. The costs are split by the parties in accordance with their agreement of the proportions payable. When the agreement of the collaborative service is in place then the services can start. Typically we meet with each side privately to review the facts and determine what their primary objectives are. We continue the meetings separately to disclose to each side the others most important objectives. When we have the clear understanding of each side’s objectives then we look at options for solutions to achieve all the objectives of both parties. We are often able to reach common ground before the parties ever come together to confirm the terms of their agreement. When the parties reach an agreement, we can, if necessary, apply to the court to explain the process and ask the court to convert the agreement into a court order. This order enables the parties to move on with confidence that the agreement will be honored and if not the court order will be enforceable.
How does conflict coaching work?
Conflict coaching generally works behind the scenes. In this role, we will assist a party in understanding the dynamics of a conflict. We help them with their emotional reactions particularly in managing their anger. In this role we act as a sounding board whenever an incident flares and we offer a ghost writing service to over suggestions on how to react with a written response to a conflict development. In this role our objective is to get you to the point where you no longer need our services. This happens when the conflict ends, or you learn how to address the issues on your own. Conflict coaching works well when you want to be seen to be addressing the pressure entirely on your own.
When a coaching assignment involves domestic violence, we educate the client on the cycle of violence and we only offer services to assist in the safe termination of the marital relationship. We will not encourage reconciliation however, we will assist to obtain effective counselling for anger management.
I hate conflict and being involved in arguments and disputes, what can you do for me in these circumstances?
When our clients have no energy to be actively engaged in conflicts, we try to address the issues on your behalf through the process of conciliation. Conciliation is described sometimes as shuttle diplomacy. It involves going back and forth with proposals and counter proposals. Our objective in utilizing this process is to reach a written agreement. We can, if necessary, apply to the court to explain the process and ask the court to convert the agreement into a court order. This order enables the parties to move on with confidence that the agreement will be honored and if not the court order will be enforceable.
I want my issues to be dealt with privately, is there a way that can happen?
Yes. Negotiation, conciliation and mediation are all processes that can be done completely privately. A negotiation can involve you discussing the issues with the other side directly, or we can be with you to offer support as you negotiate. It is important to be well prepared for a negotiation, to understand the difference between your position and your interests, to anticipate the objectives of the other side, and to plan your goals and your fall back positions. In a conciliation, you can instruct us to act as intermediaries to explain your interests and deliver your positions, and to report back with their interests and counter positions. In a mediation, we will either act as the mediator for both sides, or engage a neutral to provide that service. We will prepare you for the face to face encounter in a private, secure and safe setting to enable you, either on your own or with us there to support you, to inform the other side directly about your concerns. In all processes, we assist parties to properly document settlement terms and if necessary, to make them enforceable as court orders.
What happens if the problem is the person on the other side?
Our approach is to encourage the separation of the substantive issues from the personalities involved and to build a working relationship to enable a meaningful negotiation to occur. We frame the discussion for the parties to look forward to less acrimonious times for all to consider what it will take to get our heads to that better place. If their response is more about emotion than reason, we will raise concerns about their behaviour to make that a substantive issue of the negotiation. This can be done without judging them or impugning their emotions but by simply identify their mannerisms and reaction as part of the problem. In our experience if we act with integrity and with a firm approach, reason does prevail.