By way of background, when you agree to an alternate form of dispute resolution in order to displace the courts a number of things should be decided on. One of the most basic questions to be decided is where the dispute resolution will take place.
While this might seem trivial, it can have a material and tactical effect on your success. Simply put, it costs money to travel. It is also more difficult to instruct lawyers in the event that your situation requires local representation. And it is more difficult to control the cost of local representation.
The unexpected (and positive) consequence of choosing a location that is inconvenient to both parties may be that the parties will be motivated to settle the dispute without using the alternate dispute resolution process agreed to.
A common complaint during the initial contracting process is that one party is adamant that the dispute resolution process take place where they are located. Usually, this happens when one of the parties is based in Canada and one is based in the USA.
I am frequently asked what can be done in the face of this (assuming that you are the Canadian party)? My response is to suggest agreeing to a location in the USA that is inconvenient to both you and the other party, recognizing that it is usually impossible to reach an agreement on a Canadian location. By doing this, you will have made the best of a bad situation and hopefully motivated the other party to think twice before initiating the formal dispute resolution process.
GARY DUNN, LAWYER & MEDIATOR
610 - 1665 WEST BROADWAY AVENUE
VANCOUVER, BC V6J 1X1, CANADA
THE FOREGOING IS NOT INTENDED TO CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD CONTACT YOUR LEGAL ADVISOR ABOUT YOUR SPECIFIC LEGAL PROBLEM.