Policy on Dispute Prevention and Resolution

PREAMBLE

Dispute prevention and resolution (DPR) is an important component of all Department of Justice activities.

Dispute prevention:
The initial component of any conflict management system is dispute prevention. This includes any measure that makes improvements or adjustments to relevant policies, processes, or operations to prevent a dispute before it arises, and is often a shared responsibility across the Government of Canada.

Dispute resolution:
Dispute resolution refers to all possible processes for resolving a dispute, from consensual to adjudicative. The appropriate method to resolve any given dispute can only be chosen after a careful assessment of the facts and circumstances. In making this evaluation, the interests of the parties, the nature of the dispute, any legal risks, as well as any statutory or policy restrictions governing the use of a particular dispute resolution process must all be taken into consideration.

Dispute prevention and resolution:
DPR refers to both interrelated concepts: dispute resolution and dispute prevention.

This policy replaces the 1996 Department of Justice Dispute Resolution Policy and reaffirms the Department of Justice's commitment to the effective use of DPR.

SCOPE

This policy applies to all Department of Justice employees. Each employee should consider DPR principles in the conduct of their work related responsibilities, regardless of whether their position requires them to provide legal services, develop and implement Justice policy or programs, perform internal corporate functions or do any other task in executing the Department of Justice's mandate. This includes, but is not limited to, the areas of work set out in the Commitments section of this policy.

The principles set out in this policy are relevant to and should be applied by employees when developing and implementing other Justice policies and frameworks.

GOALS

Where possible, disputes should be prevented, or resolved at the earliest possible opportunity in a timely manner and before the situation escalates.

It is the responsibility of all employees to make every effort to prevent disputes from arising and, where they do arise, to use the DPR processes as appropriate in order to minimize, to the extent possible, recourse to court proceedings as the only avenue for resolution. While litigation may, in certain instances be the best choice, effective DPR means that all options will have been considered before resorting to the courts.

The Department of Justice also recognizes that the effective use of DPR can require the collaboration of clients, other parties and counsel, and any number of stakeholders.

The use of DPR is consistent with and affirms the principles of the Department of Justice's mission statement which includes access to justice as well as the efficient administration of justice.

COMMITMENTS TO ACHIEVE OUR GOALS

The Department of Justice will continue to be a leader in promoting the use of DPR as follows:

Client Services

Contracting

Crown Agents

Dispute Prevention

Legislative Initiatives

Policy and Program Initiatives

Training

Workplace Conflict Management

For any questions on this Policy, please contact the Law Practice Management Division (bpib-dgpaa@justice.gc.ca), the centre of expertise for dispute prevention and resolution in the Department of Justice.

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