What To Expect At A Mandatory Settlement Conference

In almost every state, the court asks the disputing parties in a personal injury case to attend a mandatory settlement conference. Those parties could meet with a judge, or with a mediator, at a mediation session. Such conferences are supposed to help the 2 parties to move closer to a resolution of their case.

The lawyers’ role at the settlement conferences

Each of the injury lawyers in Kanata makes a non-argumentative presentation. The plaintiff is provided with a chance to say something, as well. Plaintiffs’ lawyers normally warn their clients against the venting of any feelings, at that particular time.

The judge or mediator’s role

The judge or mediator sends each party into a separate room, with each party accompanied by his/her respective attorney. The judge or mediator goes back and forth between the 2 different rooms.

• When with the plaintiff, the judge or mediator mentions the weaknesses in the plaintiff’s case.
• When with the defendant, the judge or mediator’s approach changes. It features a focus on the strengths in the plaintiff’s case.

The judge or mediator’s actions are meant to push the disputing parties closer to the point where they can agree to a settlement.

Sometimes, there is no need for a trial; at other times, a trial has to be scheduled, although it might continue for just a short period, until the 2 parties have agreed to settle their differences.

Why are these conferences mandatory?

The legal system wants to limit the amount of strain on the court system. For that reason, it tries to get the opposing parties to reach an agreement before a trial must be scheduled.

What is a non-argumentative presentation, and why does each attorney have to make such a presentation?

A non-argumentative statement is supposed to encourage a consideration of all aspects of the presented case. It should not highlight or dwell on the positive aspects of the same case.

The non-argumentative presentations are meant to set the stage for the next part of the conference. That is when the plaintiff hears about the weaknesses in his/her case, and the defendant hears about the strengths in the plaintiff’s case.

The approach taken by the judge or mediator should force the plaintiff and defendant to question the logic behind insisting on the acceptance of their demands or desires. That then helps to create the atmosphere that is needed for reaching a compromise. The courts are not the only ones that benefit from the mandatory settlement conferences.

The plaintiffs and defendants’ benefit as well, in many cases. That is due to the fact that a conference could eliminate the need for a time-consuming and expensive trial. It reduces the emphasis on confrontation, and encourages the creation of compromises.