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Be clear or face the music

Be clear or face the music

By Grant Lubofsky

Communication Mediation Real Property Settlements 


A recent Supreme Court decision highlights the need for careful and precise drafting of terms of settlement and clear communication between parties at mediation. Snapshot Precision and clarity in terms of settlement are critical to avoiding disputes over the enforceability or interpretation of those terms at a later stage. Parties that want to enforce proposed terms should ensure that the terms are stated to be binding and that any statutory requirements (for example, concerning the sale of land) are satisfied. Other important issues such as the right to sue under the terms, and time being of the essence, should also be carefully considered so as to protect clients’ positions. Terms of settlement are often considered the mere mechanics of the agreement reached by parties to resolve a proceeding and an afterthought to the considerable time, cost and stress invested by those involved. Such terms are routinely prepared at the steps of the court, by junior counsel or a junior solicitor, on very short notice and in an informal fashion.

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