Murray Miskin Arbitration Services

Murray Harrison Miskin, B.A., J.D.

Murray H. Miskin B.A., J.D. – Toronto Ontario Canada based Arbitrator and Arbitration Teacher

 

Murray Miskin is one of Canada’s most well known domestic and international arbitrators. He graduated Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto in 1979 and has been a practicing lawyer in Ontario, Canada since 1981 working mainly in civil litigation.  He became actively involved in conflict resolution through arbitration as a lawyer and trainer soon after his call to the Bar and has taught arbitration courses since 1985.  As a junior lawyer Murray Miskin was asked to develop course materials and teach an advanced arbitration course for the Arbitrators Institute of Ontario.  A similar course had not been offered for several years.  The Miskin courses were first taught at the University of Toronto through the School of Continuing Studies for the Arbitrators’ Institute of Canada which has evolved into the ADR Institute of Canada. He continues to be the primary arbitration instructor in Ontario with course certification from the ADR Institute of Ontario.  In 2014 additional specialized courses have been developed and are being offered in Family Law Arbitration and Condominium Arbitration.

Murray first acted as an arbitrator in 1987 when selected by two of his former students, who were experienced real estate brokers and arbitrators, to chair a three member arbitration tribunal for a commercial lease renewal rent dispute. Since then Murray was arbitrator in a number of construction arbitrations, employment and other commercial arbitrations, and also family law, estate and environmental arbitrations.  In the mid 1990s Murray conducted his first international arbitration hearing in Toronto, after being appointed by the court in Florida to determine a franchise product contract dispute.

When the new Condominium Act for Ontario came into effect in 2001 bringing mandatory mediation and arbitration of all condominium disputes Murray became extensively involved in condominium arbitration.  His condominium litigation experience goes back to 1982 in a dispute over construction quality between the unit owners and the developers of 110 Bloor Street West in Toronto. Murray Miskin was ready to enter this new ADR field as soon as plans were made for mandatory mediation and arbitration of condominium disputes before the enactment of the Condominium Act of 1998 which became law in Ontario in 2001.  Between 1998 and and 2001 he presented seminars in the condominium industry about the new procedures and trained leading condominium lawyers in Arbitration. He went on to arbitrate many condominium cases since the Condominium Act was proclaimed.  Only one of his decisions was appealed with the decision fully upheld by the Judge hearing the appeal and again by the Ontario Court of Appeal. Murray Miskin has arbitrated a great number of condominium disputes where he has applied his own personal experience as a condominium resident and three years as the first President of a large Toronto condominium’s Board of Directors.

Murray Miskin has organized a group of Ontario condominium ADR practitioners whose website is condoadr.ca    This group includes both senior, intermediate and junior arbitrators and mediators whose services are offered at three price levels to provide a comprehensive ADR panel for condominium disputes across the Province of Ontario.

The Insurance Act has been amended to expand the use of private arbitration for insurance claims and disputes.  Murray is now, as a neutral, applying his 30 years of personal injury insurance law practice experience to insurance law where he can work more freely as an arbitrator and mediator now that he is no longer a Plaintiff’s lawyer.

Murray Miskin is getting international recognition and has won awards  in the field of arbitration, mediation and ADR, and is conducting more international commercial arbitrations. The international work includes arbitrator training in the Caribbean which is being planned with a course to be offered in Trinidad under development.  Mr. Miskin was recently in Trinidad and Grenada taking steps towards building the Caribbean arbitration market.  He plans to visit Nassau in the Bahamas in 2015 where there are hopes of developing a major international arbitration centre.  He operates three Caribbean nation focused ADR websites adr.tc, adr.vc and adr.gd.  He attended the 2014 American Bar Association (ABA) dispute resolution conference in Miami as a representative of the Canadian Bar Association’s National ADR Section Executive, and is part of the program planning group for the ABA conference next year in Seattle.  Murray Miskin is ready to travel as needed to conduct arbitrations or provide arbitration training. Our closest major urban centre for arbitration is Toronto, Ontario Canada where Murray regularly conducts domestic and international arbitrations and regularly offers his arbitration courses. He is a member of the Toronto Commercial Arbitration Society.

Call 416-492-0989 or toll free 1-877-428-8000 for further information about Murray Miskin’s ADR services and availability.

ARBITRATION COURSE PROCEEDING JUNE 2014

Arbitration class

Learning arbitration can be fun.

We work hard to make learning Arbitration fun.  It is easier to learn when you are not suffering from boredom or brain overload with dry detailed material.  Somehow we have managed over the years to make our arbitration training classes interesting and a few students have even called it “exciting”.  Our course is a generic arbitration course which qualifies students for being arbitrators in a wide range of disputes and helps lawyers and others understand and be comfortable working in an arbitration process.  Arbitration is a method of deciding disputes in a private forum which works very differently from court.

We are also offering an additional one day family law module to the course to meet the Ontario requirements for being a family law arbitrator and the first ever condominium arbitration course coinciding with proposed amendments to Ontario’s Condominium Act.   It is not Labour Arbitration but Labour Arbitrators have found the course very helpful for learning arbitration skills and better understanding their role as arbitrators.  There was a course from June 17 to 21, 2013 and the class was full. The next Ontario Arbitrator Training course is scheduled to run from Monday June 16 to Friday June 20, 2014 on a 9 to 5 basis at the Ontario Bar Association education facility at 20 Toronto Street in downtown Toronto. Classes include a working gourmet lunch each day with the cost of meals, refreshments and course certificates from the ADR Institute of Ontario included in the course registration fee.

The June class will include a  Thursday Mock Arbitration hearing. A Mock Arbitration is where the students take over the class for most of the day.  A Mock Arbitration is a simulated full arbitration hearing.  Some students play parties and witnesses including expert witnesses.  Some are arbitrators on a panel of three and the rest play lawyers who question witnesses and make legal argument to the Arbitration Tribunal who attempt to control the proceedings with a gavel as their only weapon.  Gavels are not used in Ontario Courts but we use them in Arbitration. The arbitrators give their decision with reasons the next morning at the final class. If there is a large class as there was in June 2013 the class will be divided in two to run two simultaneous Mock Arbitration hearings with a qualified arbitration coach to assist in overseeing and later critiquing the process.  The course instructor Murray Miskin provides critical feedback on Friday at the last class after the Mock Arbitration is over.  Some students play legal counsel, some are witnesses and some are Arbitrators.   Role assignments will be based on student requests and the instructors efforts at balancing the proceedings so either side has a good chance of winning the case.

The course will include all of the same content which is approved by the ADR Institute of Ontario for Arbitrator membership and Certification and by the Law Society of Upper Canada for CPD credits for lawyers and paralegals. We are also including additional material related to Family Law as arbitration and Med/Arb are now playing a greater role in Ontario Family Law.   We have a guest instructor (Colm Brannigan) who will co-present material on condominium arbitration including proposed amendments to the Condominium Act which we expect to be announced shortly before the course begins.  Graduates will be qualified to apply for the Q. Arb designation of the ADR Institute of Canada which is recognized nationally.  For the first time there will be optional reasonable cost additional specialized modules to the course.   The family law module is scheduled to first be offered on Thursday July 3 after the end of the course.    If you are not interested in studying Family Law arbitration we assure you that the Family Law content of the main course will not be dominant and the course will deal with a variety of areas of arbitration practice.

Additional to family law module on Thursday July 3 we will be offering a one day condominium arbitration course module on Tuesday June 24.  This additional course will be the first course ever offered in Ontario specific to condominium arbitration.  Colm Brannigan will be co-instructor for the Condominium Arbitration Course.  Colm is participating in the review of the current Condominium Act and will be able to give us a preview of major changes coming that will affect ADR of condo disputes.

We are applying for course approval for both new modules from the ADR Institute and also applying to Law Society of Upper Canada for Professional Development credits for both Professionalism and Substantive hours. Course Registration is open now at this website for all of the courses.  You can REGISTER NOW for the main course using Paypal with a $300 deposit requirement.  This link will also give you a link to register for the course modules which have a lower deposit requirement.   The full cost of the course remains $2,000 plus HST of $260 with the balance due before the course begins. Enrolment will be cut off when we have reached 30 students and this will be our only offering of the Comprehensive course in 2014.  Registration is also open for the course modules for $600 each plus HST until after January 15 when the cost will increase by $100.  There sufficient registration for all courses now so they will proceed as scheduled.  The course modules are not restricted for enrolment but do assume you have prior knowledge of arbitration or family or condominium law.  We encourage our past students to register for one of both modules and we encourage our current students to continue and learn more with a follow up course.

New Family Law Arbitration Course

 

July 3, 2014 Family Law Arb

Co-instructor Gary Joseph with Miskin Arbitration course materials.

Family Law disputes are moving from the courts to private resolution. Family law mediation has been popular for many years and is very effective but not always. The trend is towards arbitration instead of court in family law and now it is often integrated with mediation in a Med/Arb process.   This is a process where the mediator becomes the arbitrator.  In Med/Arb a mediator is retained by both sides to first mediate the dispute and then to arbitrate if mediation fails to bring a full settlement.  The parties know that that the mediator is the one who is to decide and they are more likely to settle knowing that.  They usually get a sense of the views of the mediator at mediation and sometimes it is very clear.  This encourages settlement but at the same time raises a danger if there is no settlement.  The danger is that the mediator who becomes an arbitrator may begin the arbitration with a bias or appearance of bias that has developed from the mediation process.  Sometimes that puts them in a situation where they have no choice but to withdraw from the case if it does not settle at mediation.  For several years our instructors Murray Miskin and Gary Joseph have been strong critics of the Med/Arb process.  Murray believes it can be done with proper safeguards and Gary believes it should not be done at all.Our new Family Arbitration course will prepare Mediators who are also Arbitrators for the dangerous path they are entering.  There are different ways of mediating and some mediators use an evaluative approach where they are more likely to face problems if they move to the arbitration stage.  A non evaluative mediator has an easier path as arbitrator.  Our course will help you develop the skills you need to successfully conduct the Med/Arb process and Family Law Arbitration.  We will have detailed discussion of the laws of evidence at arbitration and family law rules.

In Ontario Family Law Arbitration is now regulated by the Ontario Government so that practitioners must meet certain standards.  Specific family law requirements can be found in amendments made to the Arbitration Act in 2006.  There is also a Regulation under the Arbitration Act specific to Family Law Arbitration.  The Regulation refers to requirements for arbitrators found at the Ontario Attorney General’s website.

The training requirement includes training in screening parties for power imbalances and violence.  Training for that 14 hour requirement is offered elsewhere in a two day course.  They also must have at least 30 hours of training in Family Law if they are not lawyers. That training is also offered elsewhere but we supplement that training from an arbitrator’s point of view. What we have offered for many years is Comprehensive Arbitration Training which enables students to work as arbitrators generally.  We are now offering a one day additional Family Law Module to the arbitration course to specifically train students to be Family Law Arbitrators with specific training in Family Law Arbitration and in Med/Arb.  To take this course you should have first taken the Murray Miskin arbitration course in 2012 or 2013 or take it the week of June 16, 2014.  We will assume knowledge of arbitration and basic Ontario requirements for family law arbitration.  The course will be offered in a seminar format combining lecture and discussion with small group exercises.  The course date is Thursday July 3, 2014.

Course co-instructor

Learn from the Experts

The family arbitration course module will be taught by Murray Miskin with co-instructor Gary Joseph who is a very experienced family law lawyer.  Gary has seen many cases of how family law arbitration can go wrong and successfully appealed decisions of family law arbitrators.  He is co-author of Carswell’s recently published book Family Law Arbitration in Canada.  We will also use one or more coaches who are qualified in family law arbitration and mediation. The Comprehensive Arbitration Training Course comes with a certificate from the ADR Institute of Ontario.  Registration is now open for the courses.

Included in Course

New 2nd Edition of Family Law Arbitration

There is a just released second edition of Family Law Arbitration in Canada due to the many recent developments in related case law.  We will be including a copy of the new book in materials for students who register for the Family Law Arbitration Course at no extra cost.

The Attorney General website suggests that Family Law Arbitrators have the following training which we provide in this new course:

“An arbitrator not familiar with legal processes should consider taking courses on how to be an arbitrator, as well as the required courses on Ontario family law for non-lawyer arbitrators.

Such courses are offered from time to time by dispute resolution organizations and by academic institutions such as universities and community colleges. Some private instructors also offer reputable courses.

Formal training in family arbitration will make the task of arbitration easier, increase the chances that the arbitration will be correct and helpful to the parties, and reduce the risk that awards will be set aside or overturned on appeal.

It may also help to attract business, as parties can ask about the credentials of potential arbitrators in deciding whom to choose. In addition, formal training can help arbitrators avoid more serious mistakes that might give rise to potential claims for negligence.”

Murray Miskin Mediation Services


Let’s get to work and settle now.

Canadian lawyer and highly experienced mediator and arbitrator, Murray H. Miskin, after over 30 years of civil litigation law practice primarily representing Plaintiffs in insurance claims, shifted out of insurance law practice in 2012 and is providing mediation services in insurance and other civil litigation matters on a regular basis.

In February 1998 Murray took comprehensive Mediation training at Osgoode Hall Law School and began to do work as a Mediator mostly with personal injury cases.  He went on to take advanced training from Christopher Moore of Boulder, Colorado.  He was in high demand on the Toronto Superior Court Roster of Mediators which he joined in 1999.  He left the Roster in 2003 when the demand for his services became too high to the point where it interfered with the law practice.  Since then Murray worked primarily on his law practice until the end of 2011.  The Miskin law practice changed in 2012 to eliminate both the personal injury trial practice and  real estate work. The law practice is now focused on work which is less likely to create conflicts for ADR work and work that is not as time sensitive.  Conflict resolution work such as mediation and arbitration has been given top priority in scheduling with flexibility in dates. This allows for mediation to be arranged where requested without a long wait for available dates.

Most of Murray Miskin’s work as a lawyer has been in the field of insurance law where he has over 30 years of experience.  He served as Chair of the Insurance Law Section of the Ontario Bar Association  from 2000 to 2001 and the National Insurance Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association from 2003 to 2004.  Murray Miskin is  ideally suited to provide insurance mediation services. He is recognized for his expertise in personal injury claims, which he now mediates on a regular basis.  Murray is the winner of an Acquisition International Law Firm Award for 2012 for his work as a personal injury mediator.  This award is for “Canadian Personal Injury Mediator of the Year”.

Murray Miskin offers hourly, half-day and full day rates for Mediation Services and does not charge for travel in the Greater Toronto area. He is also available with no travel expense charge for work in the Cobourg, Belleville, Kingston and Ottawa areas.  Work done outside of Southern Ontario and internationally will be billed for travel time and expense.   If you are looking for a highly skilled experienced lawyer to mediate a case you sometimes have to book up to a year ahead.  Murray Miskin has organized his schedule in a way that still keeps most of his time open for work on the law practice which now focuses on class action pharmaceutical cases and US asbestos trust claims brought on behalf of Canadians. This work has time flexibility so that mediations can be booked on short and medium term notice to accommodate the parties and their lawyers.  If you want to mediate within three months we guarantee we will find you one or more available dates.  We can usually book shorter term and have no problem booking dates over three months away.  CALL 416-492-0989 to discuss your mediation needs and to book a date.  Angela at Extension 112 is our ADR coordinator.

Canadian Personal Injury Mediator of the Year

Murray Miskin – Canadian Mediator

Online Arbitration: The Future is Now

The Future is Now

Online Arbitration – Now we have the technology.

 

 

 

Traditional Dispute Resolution is often too costly a process, and for that reason Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has become the preferred way to deal with disputes with less reliance on slow and costly court processes.  Moving one step further and adopting new technologies we come to Online Dispute Resolution (ODR).  New internet based technologies are starting to be used in some courts but their greatest potential for benefit is in ADR. Online Dispute Resolution provides the opportunity for access to justice both for people who may be physically isolated from major urban centers and for those who otherwise could not afford to pursue legal remedies. Businesses are always seeking to create efficiencies and reduce the cost of services, and ODR offers potential large cost and time savings. Key business decision makers who can not afford the time to attend proceedings can participate directly in a process that is online and make the process more effective.

The quicker and more cheaply a dispute can be resolved fairly the better.  Parties should always try to directly negotiate a settlement. If direct negotiation fails mediation is the preferred process to try, because a settlement is something that immediately ends the process and it does so with a result that all parties can accept. Then they can move on from the dispute to resuming their lives and work or starting something new.  Settlement is not always possible even with the best mediator and mediation process, and so Arbitration is a necessary alternative to court.  Arbitration is especially preferred with international disputes, where courts local to a party are not trusted and the cost of getting there and being there for the various stages of the process are prohibitive. International arbitration awards are also more easily enforced in different countries than court judgements.

With mediation being the next step when negotiation fails, let us consider online options for the mediation process. A skilled mediator has excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to bring parties in a dispute closer together.  This works well when everybody is in the same place but there is a cost to bringing the parties and mediator together. Usually it is well worth the price especially when a dispute does settle. The cost of mediation also makes people take the process more seriously as the parties involved have more invested in it and generally do want it to succeed or they would not have gone to the effort.  Telephone mediation is used frequently for some types of disputes and has both a much lower cost and lower success rate.  Online mediation has greater potential. as body language can be assessed to a degree, now that technology has improved, with the added video component additional to voice, but it is still far from the personal process that makes mediation most effective.

Arbitration is more perfectly suited to an online process.  By this we do not mean simply sending in evidence and submissions by email which some people call online dispute resolution.  That process would just be a quicker and simpler form of using documentary evidence for arbitration but it lacks the vital process of hearing evidence and allowing cross examination on it.  The ability to challenge evidence by cross examination is a fundamental right in arbitration and it makes for a more accurate fact finding process where there is a dispute. In a simple case where facts are agreed or a contract is to be interpreted, email or other document review may be adequate but most disputes turn on facts which are in dispute and credibility issues.

An arbitrator is required to decide a dispute based on the evidence and not on impressions and other personal factors.  Credibility can be assessed properly with an online visual hearing.  An arbitrator can consider body language in assessing the demeanour of a witness to an extent but should be mainly focussed on the actual evidence given by a party or witness.  To the extent that personal observation is needed by an arbitrator to assess evidence, current technology readily available across the world is sufficient.  By using low cost or free existing internet methods including processes such as Skype, Google Plus Hangouts or Facetime you are not only saving money but you are potentially creating a more objective process for the arbitrator or tribunal to receive the evidence.  Witnesses can be examined and cross examined from their home or office with an audio and video feed going out to everyone involved.  Non professional witnesses are more comfortable in their own environment and you do not have to deal with inadequacies of evidence caused by nervousness in a formal and sometimes foreign environment, or jet lag if they had to travel far to give evidence.  As part of the process documents can easily be reviewed without in person attendance and questions can be answered and submissions made by legal counsel with just a phone call. A tribunal of arbitrators does not have to meet in person to confer when they use new technology including online document management and editing.

Cost and speed of the process are the most important factors giving an advantage to online arbitration.  Speed is obtained by making it easier to have a hearing date as it is no longer necessary to have everyone required for the proceedings to be in the same place at the same time.  The cost savings are enormous with experts not charging for their travel time and expense.  The arbitrators, witnesses, parties and counsel do not have to travel and have the added costs of travel, meals and accommodation.  A court reporter can record proceedings more cheaply if they can work from home and with real time reporting instant transcripts can be available to everyone as needed.

Miskin Law is in the process of developing a standardized online arbitration service to be offered from our base in Ontario, Canada for both domestic and international arbitration.  We are already using these methods on an individual basis as agreed by parties now and it works.  Stay tuned for our low cost online arbitration service package and process to be offered in the near future.  We will be launching the new service with a new online arbitration website as well. Once we have this service package fully developed there will be options within it and we will continue to offer tailored processes suitable to particular parties, legal counsel and disputes with lower costs.  It will not be a fixed price service like some other limited online arbitration processes are, but it will contain a base price with cost variables based on likely number and length of witnesses and the proceedings.  We have a number of arbitrators available for the online arbitration process so the parties can select their preferred arbitrator.

For information on Murray Miskin’s arbitration or mediation services contact the Miskin Law Office by email to miskinlaw@yahoo.com or call and speak with Angela at Extension 112.  Online arbitration is the future and the future is now.