Obligation to consider private dispute prevention and resolution (DPR) processes

Background

Since January 1, 2016, all parties must consider private dispute prevention and resolution (DPR) processes before referring a misunderstanding, problem, dispute or conflict to the courts.

This obligation is intended to ensure that the parties to a dispute take steps to reach an agreement before the situation deteriorates to the point where it is brought before the courts.

The obligation is also intended to assist in the shift from a trial-based to an agreement-based culture.

Difference between DPR processes and private DPR processes

The term DPR processes covers all processes used inside or outside the court system.

The term private DPR processes refers only to the processes used outside the court system.

What does consider mean?

The parties must attentively examine the possibilities for settling their dispute out of court before beginning judicial proceedings.

They may do this through private discussions or using the services of an advisor such as a conciliator or mediator.

How can consideration be proved to the court?

Parties will be required to prove to a judge, if their dispute reaches the courts, that they have considered a DPR process.

The judge will ensure that the parties have met their obligation.

For example, a local justice centre may issue a confirmation that information on DPR processes has been provided, and the confirmation may then be submitted to the court, proving that DPR processes were considered alongside the judicial options.

 

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