Reflection and learning in adjudicator development

Experience is a great teacher, especially for adjudication skills. That’s why role playing is an important part of any adjudicator training program. However, nothing beats real world experience for honing the craft of adjudication. Simply doing is not enough though. Reflecting on experience is an integral part of the learning process. I recently wrote a [Read More]

The Metrics of Mediation

On I have a column this month that touches on evaluation of mediation and why a focus on settlement rates alone is unhealthy for the justice system. In a recent column, Joe Markowitz noted that our tendency to focus on settlement rates obscures the full value of mediation. If we only value mediation as [Read More]

Standing of a unionized employee at judicial review and the role of union counsel

The breach of settlement in the Jan Wong case is back in the news, as the Ontario Divisional Court has dismissed her judicial review application. In this case, the Court denied her standing since the dispute was between the union and the employer. Last year, Ms. Wong’s judicial review application of an interim decision was [Read More]

Adjudicator note-taking at hearings: new research has implications for active adjudication

Note-taking at hearings is very much a personal choice of adjudicators. Many take handwritten notes. Others use laptops. I started my adjudication career taking notes by hand. I resisted using a laptop, because I found the screen was a barrier between me and the parties. When I got an iPad and a bluetooth keyboard I [Read More]

Lost in Translation: words we could use in dispute resolution

In dispute resolution words sometimes fail you, and you wish there was just one word to explain what was going on. A new book by Ella France “Lost in Translation” provides some guidance. It is a book of words in other languages that are not translatable by one or two words in English. Each word has a [Read More]

Security clearances, legitimate expectations and procedural fairness

For some jobs, having a security clearance is an essential requirement. In a recent case from the Federal Court of Appeal, the court noted the importance of a security clearance for a dockworker: As a practical matter, having a security clearance matters. Without a security clearance, the work opportunities are fewer. This can detrimentally affect the worker’s [Read More]

Off-loading lawyers’ training and development

Like many lawyers with an interest in access to justice, I read the CBA’s Legal Futures Report with interest. There is a lot in the Report to digest, but at first read I was struck by the call for law students to arrive in the practice of law with “all the skills and knowledge required to practice [Read More]

Communicating bad news: more lessons from the medical profession

Legal professionals sometimes have to communicate bad news to clients about disputes. In most cases, the news is not as potentially devastating as what a doctor might have to communicate, but some of the challenges are the same. In a recent article, Dr. Rosenbaum asks: “Will our patients still like us if we tell them things [Read More]

Defining success in mediation

I recently read Lucy Moore’s Common Ground on Hostile Turf: Stories from an environmental mediator, and it provides some important insights on defining success in mediation. Lucy Moore is a mediator in New Mexico and has been involved in many environmental and land use mediations. She tells good stories about the conflicts she has been involved [Read More]

The CIA and legal writing

One wouldn’t expect the CIA to be a good source for principles on legal writing. But a new book on communication by Frank Pietrucha, Supercommunicator: Explaining the Complicated So Anyone Can Understand, highlights the CIA’s Intelligence Analysts Style Guide (available online here) as a good overview of the rules of clear writing. Pietrucha prefers to use the [Read More]

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