The CATA Process for Conflict Management: An Alternative to the High Cost of Litigation for Resolution of Commercial Disputes
June 9, 2008

CATAAlliance MEMO

Re: Handbook for Alternative Dispute Resolution

++ Action Request: Contact jreid@cata.ca with ADR in the Header if you wish to be included in our Focus Group that is presently reviewing the draft Handbook for Alternative Dispute Resolution 

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CATA conducted a short survey relating to the experience of 90 companies with litigation. The surveys were completed by senior executives of the responding companies. Out of this group of 90 companies, 67% had more than 1 law suit in the last 3 years. The approximate cost in legal fees alone for managing the disputes over that period exceeded $17 million. Fifty-six percent of the respondents believed that the law suits had a moderate to substantial impact on their business due to the time spent internally in managing litigation. Only 2% felt that litigation had no impact on their business.

Fifty-six percent of the respondents believed that the law suits had a moderate to substantial impact on their business due to the time spent internally in managing litigation. Only 2% felt that litigation had no impact on their business.

In over 80% of the cases, the dispute resulted in a termination of the business relationship.

Mediation or some other alternative, such as arbitration, was used to settle the disputes in approximately 49% of the cases. The bulk of the cases resolved in this way were referred to mediation. Mediation is a required step in the litigation process in the courts of Ontario. The principal criticisms of these alternative methods of resolution focused on three elements: 1) compliance with the process that had been agreed upon; 2) the appropriateness of the process that was being used for the resolution of the particular dispute; and 3) the skill of the mediators and the participants.

Over 90% of the participants indicated an interest in a structure that would allow them to resolve disputes in the early stages before it spiraled into litigation. Similarly, 90% indicated an interest in having a defined set of contract terms for inclusion in agreements to support alternative dispute resolution options to avoid or limit litigation. This initiative is in response to those demands.

This handbook outlines different methods for alternative dispute resolution and provides as an appendix a series of clauses for inclusion in contracts. CATA, as well, is committed to creating a best practices forum with appropriate expertise in order to assist people in the use of these techniques for dispute resolution and in order to access these alternative methods.

You will notice that this handbook has been referred to as The CATA Process for Conflict Management rather than Alternative Dispute Resolution. The reality of life and of contracts is that conflict is a given. Whether that conflict is small or large depends in large measure upon the behavior of the participants and whether or not measures exist to mitigate the amount of mayhem that comes out of a typical conflict.

CATAnet TV video

Please take a few minutes to view a newly released CATAnet TV video on the cost of high tech litigation
and alternative approaches to conflict resolution to mitigate costs.  It is an excellent overview of the project:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/video/video.php?v=24171016412&oid=5391503953