Mediation offers a cheaper and faster method of resolving disputes than any of the other alternatives. This is the view which was expressed by Patricia Lane, a Chartered Mediator, when she spoke at the B.C. Expropriation Association seminar held in Vancouver on October 27-28, 2000. This remark was used to introduce her topic, "Mediation in Expropriation Cases".
Ms. Lane has acted in several recent expropriation cases which settled using mediation. She observed that there is nothing unique about expropriation that would prevent the use of mediation to settle compensation claims. Instead it has been demonstrated to work very well in this context. Settlement rates are high and a very high percentage (92%) of parties to mediated settlements report that they were happy with the process.
For parties looking for a mediator, Ms. Lane suggested that a good mediator should know something about expropriation or be prepared to learn it quickly. However, the more important skill is knowledge of the mediation process. Of course, mediators that have both skills are in high demand. A listing of mediators is maintained by the British Columbia Mediator Roster Society whose web site can be found at http://www.mediator-roster.bc.ca.
Lane posed the question, "OK - if its so great why isn't it used more?". Her primary explanation was that the process is not well understood by lawyers or the taking agencies. However, history shows that once lawyers use it they come back for more.
Ms. Lane can be reached in Victoria at (250) 598-3992 or through her web site at http://www.patricialane.bc.ca .