Mediation as a Tool for Resolving Human Rights Disputes: An Evaluation of the B.C. Human Rights Commission’s Early Mediation Project

Philip Bryden
University of Alberta – Faculty of Law

William Black
University of British Columbia – Faculty of Law

2004

(2004) 37:1 University of British Columbia Law Review 73-112

Abstract:

From July 1, 2001 to March 31, 2002, the B.C. Human Rights Commission ran a pilot project in which parties to selected human rights complaints filed with the Commission were invited to participate in early mediation with the objective of voluntarily resolving their disputes. The Commission agreed to allow the U.B.C. Dispute Resolution Project to evaluate the Early Mediation Project, and in this paper the authors discuss the potential strengths and weaknesses of mediation as a vehicle for the resolution of human rights disputes, as well as assess the use of early mediation by the Commission.

The first part of the paper situates mediation within the broader institutional framework for the resolution of disputes under the British Columbia Human Rights Code («the Code»), both at the time the Early Mediation Project was in effect and at the present time, as a result of legislative changes brought in by Bill 64, which came into force on March 31, 2003. The second part of the paper describes the types of policy considerations that we believe it is important to consider in evaluating the suitability of mediation for the resolution of human rights disputes. The third and final part of the paper provides our assessment of the Early Mediation Project itself.

This assessment was made possible by the outstanding co-operation we support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s Community University Research Alliance Program, and through the assistance of our colleagues in the U.B.C. Dispute Resolution Project and the diligent efforts of our student research assistants.

Mediation as a Tool for Resolving Human Rights Disputes- An Evaluation of the B.C. Human Rights Commission’s Early Mediation Project

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