The price of justice?

March 17, 2011

In a March 2007 article, the Toronto Star estimated that the average cost for a three-day civil trial was over $60,000. That’s higher than the income of an average Canadian household.

It’s this rising cost of litigation that was the impetus behind the creation of ADR Private Court. Public trials are expensive primarily because of the number of procedures involved. Getting a matter to court generally requires disclosure, discoveries and copious interlocutory motions. These all add to the legal costs of a case – and to the time required to take a dispute to trial. (In most instances, it’s many, many years before parties get “their day in court”.)

ADR Private Court can provide quick, cost-effective resolutions to legal disputes because its process is streamlined and flexible enough to allow parties to choose which pretrial procedures they wish to follow.

What’s more, ADR Private Court’s simplified rules of evidence mean that its hearings will usually be significantly shorter than those of a public trial. As a result, within months of contacting ADR Private Court, a hearing can be held and a resolution provided. If all parties are agreeable and available, a hearing could even be arranged within weeks, if not days. To save additional time, money and stress, ADR Private Court procedures can also be conducted on line.

adrprivatecourt.ca, Halifax, Gus Richardson.

Augustus (Gus) Richardson, QC

ADR Private Court is owned and operated by Augustus (Gus) Richardson, QC. It provides alternative dispute resolution services throughout Canada.

For more information, go to www.adrprivatecourt.ca

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ADR Private Court makes the news.

March 16, 2011

Legal eagle for the little guys
New firm offers out-of-court resolution services
By BRUCE ERSKINE Business Reporter
Wed, Mar 16 – 7:14 AM

Lawyer Gus Richardson has started a private business offering legal dispute resource services that are quicker and cheaper than going to court.(PETER PARSONS / Staff)
Lawyer Gus Richardson has started a private business offering legal dispute resource services that are quicker and cheaper than going to court.(PETER PARSONS / Staff)

A veteran Halifax lawyer and mediator is offering private legal services designed for people who drive Fords and Chevrolets.

“We have basically a Cadillac (legal) system but not everybody’s driving a Cadillac,” Gus Richardson, founder of ADR Private Court.ca, said Tuesday in an interview.

“This is a way of increasing access to justice.”

ADR Private Court offers legally binding, confidential dispute resolution services for non-criminal matters that can save clients the time and expense involved in working through the public judicial system.

“I’m trying to broaden the scope of arbitration and mediation,” said Richardson, a former partner with the Halifax law firm, Huestis Ritch.

Richardson said arbitration and mediation services are typically used to settle labour disputes.

“I’m trying to get it out into the community,” he said.

ADR Private Court can help settle legal disputes over such things as ruptured business partnerships or family inheritances that are beyond the scope of small claims court, said Richardson.

“It’s sort of expanding that process,” he said.

Noting that it can take years for cases to be heard in court and in some instances it may cost more in legal fees than a settlement may be worth, Richardson said a private court hearing “can usually be booked within weeks of the dispute arising.”

The private court proceedings are held at a neutral location or online, is less stressful, usually takes a day to be heard and can help heal the emotional wounds of a protracted public court battle, he said. And because the proceedings are private, they avoid the possibility of potentially embarrassing media coverage.

A two-party mediation costs $3,000 for one day or part-day, with the costs split by the participants.

Richardson has practised law for more that 25 years and has served as a Nova Scotia small claims court adjudicator for more than 10 years.

He has extensive expertise in contract law and has adjudicated claims related to property damage, insurance, real estate transactions and residential and commercial tenancies.

berskine@herald.ca)

For more information, go to www.adrprivatecourt.ca