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
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.
For more information, go to www.adrprivatecourt.ca