Court delays hamper dispute resolution – Lexpert

Éric Préfontaine

Dec 14, 2023

Case backlogs in the courts are increasingly a concern in the legal field. Emphasizing settlements is a way of avoiding dragging matters out, Éric Préfontaine says in an interview with Lexpert.

Éric admits that getting clients to think about settling is hard, especially at the beginning when they are less open to the idea because emotions are running high. However, he points out that the time it takes for a case to go through the courts tends to negate the benefits of a possible win.

“It’s a process that is going to take time,” Éric explains to his clients. “It will cost you a fortune to be told by a judge that you were right  ̶  and there’s no guarantee of that...and there is nothing in Québec that you can reasonably expect to be compensated for because in Québec [awarded] costs are very, very minimal compared to Ontario.”

The settlement conference process is one advantage Québec’s civil law system does have. Administered  by current, retired, and supernumerary judges, settlement conferences work almost like free mediation services. As long as both parties agree to participate, Éric says they are efficient, function well, and divert cases that don’t need to be heard in open court away from backlogged courts.

Read the full article by author Carolyn Gruske posted by Lexpert on November 23, 2023.