Litigation is often considered by the public as the only option that a legal dispute can be resolved. Although it can produce enforceable court orders, provide high monetary awards, and ensure public accountability, going to court can be costly, time consuming, unpredictable, and sometimes even too expensive! Gartner & Associates offer mediation as a method for resolving animal-related legal disputes.

Mediation is the process by which an independent third-party facilitates the discussion regarding a dispute between two or more parties. Also, a legal representative can take on the role of Mediator to facilitate a settlement. The reason mediation is so attractive is because it is inexpensive in comparison to going to court, it is less risky, can be less stressful, and it can provide much faster and satisfying resolutions. In fact, Gartner & Associates has successfully mediated numerous animal law related disputes, some in just a few hours! Not only can mediation save time and money, but a settlement can be mediated in a private forum. There are many areas of animal law that mediation can be utilized to resolve an animal-related dispute. Gartner & Associates represents clients using a mediated approach in many service areas including: pet custody/ownership disputes, veterinarian malpractice incidents, alleged dog biting cases, breeder disputes, denial of insurance claims, boarding/groomer disputes, pet condominium disputes, equine law matters, and more.

There are several reasons mediation is an attractive avenue for resolving animal-related disputes. Firstly, in most situations, animal law disputes may bring about an emotional concern for parties to the dispute. Mediation allows for both the mediator and representatives to help the parties in dispute understand each others’ emotions and to help them empathize what they are both going through. This level of empathy is rarely seen in trial and why it makes mediation such an efficient alternative to resolving animal-law disputes. Secondly, in many situations, the monetary court awards provided in animal-law related issues are not worth the higher costs associated with absorbent litigation and high court fees.

A third reason that mediation is a preferred method to resolving animal-related disputes is that the current regime of the law considers our beloved pets as personal property. As such, a court decision rendered may be unfavourable as litigation is risky and does not guarantee success. In other words, a judge may not recognize your animal’s best interest or display empathy or compassion for your situation. On the other hand, participating in a negotiation process is more flexible and using mediation can result in a more successful, and satisfying outcome for all parties involved, especially in custody cases.

Not only is mediation useful, even the litigation system has implemented mandatory mediation. It is a mandatory process according to Rule 24.1 of the Ontario Rules of Civil procedure which dictates that there must be a mandatory mediation for civil and non-family action cases.[1] This rule applies in Toronto, Ottawa, and Windsor.  In some animal law disputes, mediation will be necessary before litigation and a party can wait a long time before court. As such, it is important to contact a lawyer who is experienced and knowledgeable in the area of law where your legal dispute.

The team at Gartner & Associates, as trained mediators with skills in negotiation, and as animal lovers, can help you with your mediation by providing representation and support during the entire process. To find out more about mediation as an alternative dispute resolution method and how it can help you with your animal-law-related dispute, the lawyers and staff at Gartner & Associates can answer your questions. They can be reached at (416) 836-9971 or you can send your animal-related inquiry via email to reception@animallawyers.ca and book a consultation. With many years of experience and success specializing in mediation, Gartner & Associates has successfully represented many clients in their times of need. We understand that animal-related disputes can be difficult and we are here to help you!

 

[1] Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General. “Public Information Notice – Ontario Mandatory Mediation Program.” Public Information Notice – Ontario Mandatory Mediation Program – Ministry of the Attorney General, 2017, www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/manmed/notice.php.

 

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