“We have to see this with yesterday’s respected lawyer
‘Justice delayed too long is justice denied.’ ”
The search and assistance of the courts in the settlement of disputes is a right granted to the residents of our republic, but which is not always administered fairly and equally. Many have been denied these rights over the years due to discrimination or economic restrictions, and it is a privilege of access that many others take for granted.
The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated the need for access to justice in emergencies and has also significantly delayed access to justice for non-urgent matters. Unfortunately, what constitutes an emergency is very limiting, and for many it means bearing the stress and trauma of ongoing litigation for much longer than even the normal lengthy process. Now, more than ever, the time has come to consider alternatives.
The most common opposition to mediation and other forms of out-of-court dispute resolution is that the other side would disagree or act in good faith. As with anything else, we do not control other people’s decisions and must focus on what we control, our own actions and reactions. So if you want to try mediation or any other forum, ask yourself if you have done everything possible to make this possible. To make this process easier, we are sharing a sample letter and an explanatory flyer (links below). We recommend that you use these templates to find the right forum for your case:
Download: sample letter suggesting the use of an out-of-court dispute resolution
Download: sample flyer describing the options for facilitating out-of-court dispute resolution
Outside of the court, you have other forum options including:
The sample flyer provides a brief description of each of these forums, and the sample letter includes a template that you can use to share your interest in one or more of the options.
We recommend that you consider how you are influencing your current situation and what measures you can take. When it comes to looking for ways to resolve your conflict, I remember the lottery slogan, “You can’t win if you don’t play.” Unless you at least ask the other side to try mediation, you can’t always say that is why you haven’t tried it yet.