(2)The pre-trial conference shall be conducted informally, in such manner as the judge or other person presiding at the conference may direct.
(3)The judge or other person who presides at a pre-trial conference shall prepare a memorandum of the matters agreed upon by the parties at the conference, and shall present the memorandum of such parties for their approval and shall file the memorandum.
(4)No evidence disclosed at the pre-trial conferences shall be admissible as an admission made at the conference, or as part of a transcript or record of the conference without the consent of the parties”.
Evaluation of Canadian mediation schemes
10.35Richardson’s independent study for the Department of Justice found that the satisfaction rates for those who had mediated were 80-90%.1100 Among those who did not attend mediation, 80% of men and 88% of women were satisfied with their lawyers’ services. A full or partial settlement was reached in 64% of the mediated cases. The court records showed 49% of mediated cases reached complete settlement and another 15% reached partial settlement. Women achieved higher child support payments through mediation than litigation. However, the legal costs were higher overall for those who participated in mediation than for those who did not. Overall, joint custody agreements were four time more likely for mediated cases than for non-mediated cases. Respondents said that they believed joint custody was in the children’s best interests. 89% of men and 75% of women said they would choose joint custody again.1101
10.36As regards post divorce impact there was little difference in the hostility between the mediation group and the litigation group. The study emphasised that there were time savings and clients had positive experiences in using mediation. Contested cases took 23 weeks less when mediation was used. Clients felt that delay prolonged the pain involved in marriage breakdown and mediation was more rational and humane.
10.37Despite the fact that lawyers supported mediation, the research of court files and interviews with mediators found that the actual referral rate from lawyers was 12%. While 85% of lawyers said they advised their clients of mediation, only 10.4% actually encouraged attempts at mediation. Less than 1% believed that property issues should be mediated and 14% would limit mediation to custody and access issues. However, it is likely that if this research study was duplicated now it would show different results as the Richardson study was in 1988.
10.38The Irving and Benjamin study of 1977-19791102 found that lawyers believed that the conciliation service played a positive role in the legal process and
1100 Court-based Divorce Mediation in Four Canadian Cities, An Overview of Research Results (1988).
1101 However, the summary of the study provided in the Alberta Research Paper no. 20 does not give a definition of what is meant by joint custody.
1102 Irving, (ed) Family Law; an Interdisciplinary Perspective, (1981).