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BEN LAW

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LEGAL SERVICES - ATTORNEY AT LAW

PLEASE CALL 647-546-0145

Ben Fulton smiling in a business suit with his partner seeing eye dog Abbie Road

POTENTIA AD POPULUM

A Blind Crime-Fighting Advocate Promoting Justice Fairness and Equality

Ben Law Logo with Latin Statement "Potentia ad Populum"

PRACTICE AREAS

ARBITRATION

Arbitration is different than mediation. Both are considered Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). However, arbitration is a binding process whereas mediation is completely voluntary. In this sense, the arbitrator looks more like a judge, with the ability to make a decision that one or more people disagrees with. Sometimes a contract will have an arbitration clause that allows disputes to be settled using an arbitrator, or arbiter. The terms arbiter and arbitrator are synonymous. In Canada people generally prefer the term arbitrator. If everyone agrees to participate in arbitration they agree to follow the decision reached by the arbitrator, whether they agree with the decision or not. This makes arbitration a more confrontational approach than mediation. Arbitrations are less formal than court proceedings, and generally have fewer rules; however, there are serious consequences for the people involved. The arbitrator has the ability to make a decision that negatively effects one or more of the people, and this decision is legally enforceable. The ability to challenge an arbitration decision may be limited by the contract, or the arbitration agreement. Before entering an arbitration everyone involved should sign an arbitration agreement that sets out the rules of the arbitration, how the decisions will be made, the procedure to follow, and the legal consequences of any decision reached by the arbitrator. Make sure you carefully review any agreement before signing. If you need help understanding the language, seek professional legal advice. You may also want legal representation if you are involved in any arbitration or mediation.

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR) 1

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is anything other than the courts. If you’re going to trial you’re no longer in the arena of ADR. Disputes can settle through negotiation and mediation, even after the matter is set down for trial. You could settle everything on the steps of the courthouse, and that would still be ADR, but once you’re in a trial it’s no longer ADR. ADR has a place not only in civil matters but also in criminal matters. Negotiating with the crown to establish a plan for suitable diversion keeps criminal charges from going to trial and avoids the risk of getting a criminal record. ADR involves using less confrontational approaches to settle disputes. It involves more co-operation and collaboration. ADR requires more creativity and flexibility. The process engages the participants in negotiating outcomes that can look a lot different from the official judgements delivered by the court. Mediation and arbitration are types of ADR. You can think of each one like a tool for resolving conflict. Whereas ADR is an entire toolkit. ADR involves mediation, arbitration, negotiating, and a host of other skills and knowledge. Using ADR in a criminal context requires working with community-based organizations in ways that enhance the accused person’s relationship to the community. Promoting healthy community relationships results in more restorative justice systems, Thereby creating more positive outcomes for everyone involved.

MEDIATION

Mediation is a confidential and voluntary process where disputes are settled by the people involved. They get to create their own solution and make their own arrangement. The role of the mediator is to help the parties come to an agreement. Often times parties want to settle, but they need help getting to an agreement. As a mediator, Ben Fulton settles approximately 2/3 of the Mediations he conducts. Ben Fulton engages with all parts of the mediation to ensure that all the parties interests are properly considered. Mediation is a completely voluntary process, and it remains voluntary throughout the entire process. If either person does not like the way the mediation is going, they are free to leave the mediation. There are no consequences beyond the lost opportunity to resolve the dispute. Of course, the dispute will need to be settled by some other means, but the important thing to notice about mediation is that neither side can be forced into doing anything. Their participation is completely voluntary, and it remains voluntary at all times. This makes mediation much different than other forms of dispute resolution like Arbitration. The process of the mediation itself is confidential. A successful mediation will result in a settlement agreement. If no settlement agreement is reached the entire process remains confidential. The settlement agreement will specify how much of the mediation will remain confidential. This part of the process is often overlooked by mediators who assume that the confidentiality is non-negotiable. However, as a mediator, Ben Fulton engages with all parts of the process and keeps this issue alive for everyone to consider. Settlement Agreement The settlement agreement is a formal agreement between the parties to a dispute. It clearly lays out what is expected of each party, their obligations, rights, and responsibilities. It includes the positions the parties are taking in respect of their respective legal rights. For instance, it is common for one party to abandon legal proceedings in exchange for compensation. One party will pay a lesser amount to avoid the consequences of going to trial. This is perhaps the most common form of agreement. The parties may have what are sometimes called “minutes of settlement” that outline the key points agreed on in the mediation. The settlement agreement formalizes the agreement and becomes a binding document. Once the settlement agreement is signed, the parties are under an obligation to abide by the terms of the agreement and there are enforcement procedures that can be used. To enforce the settlement one of the parties can make a motion to a judge for the enforcement of the order. This can have serious legal repercussions. If you are thinking about enforcing a settlement agreement, or if you are in danger of someone enforcing an agreement against you then you need to consult with a lawyer.

CRIMINAL AND DIVERSION FOR CRIMINAL OFFENSES

There are a number of diversion programs offered by the crown. Each courthouse will have access to different resources. Sometimes the crown will recommend the Direct Accountability Program. Other times different arrangements can be made where the crown will withdraw the charges. Diversion is not always possible, and the decision about diversion is entirely up to the crown. Diversion is increasingly being used to deal with criminal charges as the crown realizes that it is not always in the public interest to seek a conviction that will result in a criminal record. Diversion programs can involve treatment or counselling for anger and other issues. Community service can also be involved. These programs add value to the community by requiring positive contributions from the offender. They are required to take responsibility for their actions, but they do so in a way that does not result in a criminal record. They may be required to attend counselling, to perform community service, to write a letter of apology, or make a personal apology. This all depends on the views of the crown, the subject of the offence, and other people connected to the case. Each case of diversion is different. The programs address the circumstances of each individual differently. Ben Fulton takes an approach that engages with the various forms of diversion. If you are facing criminal charges this is the first thing to consider. Diversion is not always possible, but the benefits make it worth investigating.

WILLS AND NOTARY 

Notary public is a public office administered by the province of Ontario. As a Notary Public Ben Fulton is qualified to commission affidavits, and make certified true copies of documents. If you need something notarized bring it over, I have an embossing seal that meets all legal requirements.

CIVIL

Landlord and Tenent, Motor Vehicle Civil Matters.

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Ben Law Logo with Latin quote "Potentia ad Populum"

"Thoughtful, trustworthy, honest, straight to the point Lawyer, who does not disappoint."  Jean-Claude Lafond, Creative Producer

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Ben Law Logo with Latin quote "Potentia ad Populum"

CONTACT US

We are looking forward to hearing from you. Please feel free to get in touch via the form below, we will get back to you as soon as possible. We accept Legal AID certificates.

ADDRESS

Located in Mississauga, Ontario

Serving the Greater Toronto Area

EMAIL

bfulton@benlaw.ca

PHONE

647-289-3421

 

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