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Case conferences can lead to settlements under LAT system

Although recent changes to auto accident insurance benefits have eliminated the use of mandatory mediation, Toronto litigator and commercial arbitrator Marvin Huberman tells Law Times he's looking to other provisions that have the potential to achieve settlements without going to a hearing under the new Licence Appeals Tribunal (LAT) system.

“The question is what does the LAT system offer perhaps in lieu of the mandatory mediation,” says Huberman.

This potential, he explains, lies in the case conference, provided it is led by an individual with training in the principles of mediation and dispute resolution techniques. This process is able to go beyond procedural housekeeping issues and delve into settlement discussions, says Huberman.

As the article notes, the government says its goal in establishing the new system was to develop an effective way for claimants to access the benefits to which they are entitled, via early resolution and reduced timelines. 

These early resolutions, Law Times reports, can be achieved through case conferences — a confidential forum in which the tribunal’s jurisdiction, its process, expectations and the merits of a case are explained.

“I think the case conference provision in this system could replace and even supplant or exceed the expectations or the results that were achieved from the former FSCO mediation,” says Huberman.

“If settlement is what they want, I think the government has given the opportunity on a silver platter for that to happen, not through mandatory mediation but through case conference,” he adds.

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