Under Small Claims Rule 7.3 - Mediation for claims between $10,000 and $25,000
When parties are unable to agree upon the selection of a mediator under Rule 7.3 - Mediation for Claims Between $10,000 and $25,000, any party to the proceeding may apply to the Mediate BC Society for the appointment of a mediator.
The following questions and answers provide information about the Society's role under the Rule, including how to request the Society to appoint a mediator:
1) What is the procedure for requesting the appointment of a mediator under the Rule?
a) If the parties have been unable to agree on a mediator within the applicable time after delivery of a Notice to Mediate, a request for appointment may be made by any party to the proceeding. It should be submitted in writing to the Mediate BC Society, Attention: Mediator Roster Office, 177 - 800 Hornby Street, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2C5.
b) To accelerate the process, it is advisable to forward the request by fax. Mediate BC's Mediator Roster Office: 604-681-6080.
c) The request may be submitted using the Society's form, Application for Appointment of Mediator.
d) If the Mediate BC form is not used, the written request should include the following information:
- It should indicate that the parties have been unable to select a mediator within the 14 days required by the Rule.
- It should indicate that a request for the appointment of a mediator is being made under Rule 7.3 (10) - Mediation for Claims Between $10,000 and $25,000.
- It should list the names and contact points of all of the parties involved in the proceeding. If any of the parties are represented, it should also include the names and contact points of the lawyer(s), as well as the names of the parties which they represent.
- It should state the general nature of the dispute (e.g., personal injury, breach of contract).
e) A copy of the Notice to Mediate which was delivered to the parties must be attached to the request.
2) What happens after the request is made for the appointment of a mediator?
a) Mediate BC, as promptly as practicable after receiving the request, provides written confirmation of receipt of the request to all of the parties.
b) Mediate BC's written confirmation includes a request that, within 5 working days, the parties indicate when they would be able to attend a mediation session.
c) On expiry of the 5 working days referred to above, or as soon as is practicable, Mediate BC selects a mediator and notifies the parties in writing of the selection. The parties are encouraged to contact the mediator as soon as possible, in order to schedule the mediation session within the time required by the Rule. The mediator is also advised in writing of the selection, and is provided with the names and contact points of the parties (and their lawyer(s), if applicable), and their availability information.
3) How does Mediate BC select the mediator?
To select the mediator, Mediate BC takes into account the factors identified in subrule 11 of the Rule:
- the need for the mediator to be neutral and independent,
- the qualifications of the mediator,
- the mediator's fees,
- the mediator's availability,
- the nature of the dispute, and
- any other consideration likely to result in the selection of an impartial, competent and effective mediator.
In order to ensure that the above factors have been taken into account, the Society conducts various checks, including:
- Confirming that the mediator is familiar with the requirements of Rule 7.3.
- Mediate BC's database of information about mediators on its Civil Roster is searched for a mediator with qualifications relevant to the dispute.
- Prior to appointing the mediator, Mediate BC confirms the mediator's neutrality and impartiality by requesting that he/she verify there would be no conflict of interest in acting as mediator for the parties.
- The Society requests availability information from the mediator and compares this with the availability information received from the parties.
4) How long does it take for a mediator to be appointed?
Mediate BC appoints the mediator as quickly as is practicable; however, the length of time for the appointment process varies, according to several factors - for example, whether the request for the appointment of a mediator includes all of the information necessary for Mediate BC to proceed, and how long it takes for all of the parties to provide their availability information to Mediate BC.
5) Is it possible to withdraw a request if the parties come to an agreement on a mediator while they are waiting for one to be appointed?
In order to withdraw a request for the appointment of a mediator, the parties need only advise Mediate BC in writing that they have mutually agreed on a mediator and that they do not require Mediate BC to appoint one for them. This letter should be forwarded to Mediate BC's Victoria office as soon as the parties have made such an agreement between themselves.
6) Does Mediate BC charge a fee for appointing a mediator?
No, Mediate BC does not charge a fee for making an appointment under the Notice to Mediate Regulations.
7) After the mediator is appointed, does Mediate BC have a further role?
Subrule 14 (b) of the Rule provides that if the mediator appointed by Mediate BC is unable or unwilling to act as mediator, the Society must select a new mediator within 7 days after receiving notice of this inability or unwillingness from the mediator or one of the parties.
The Society collects information on the availability of the parties and the mediator and distributes this information to all of the parties and the mediator; however, Mediate BC is not involved in the actual scheduling of the mediation session. The parties are responsible for contacting the mediator and for scheduling the mediation session so that it takes place within the time required by the Rule.
The Rule does not provide for any other involvement by Mediate BC. While Mediate BC is available to answer questions and provide whatever assistance it can after the appointment, it does not have a formal role.