ODR Interview with Shannon Salter

Shannon Salter is the Civil Resolution Tribunal’s Chair, and an adjunct professor at the UBC Allard School of Law, teaching administrative law and legal ethics. She earned her BA and LLB from UBC, and her Master of Laws from the University of Toronto.

Ms. Salter was a BC Supreme Court judicial law clerk before practicing civil litigation at a large Vancouver law firm for several years. She has served as a vice chair of the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal and as a board member of the College of Registered Nurses of BC.

Ms. Salter is currently a commissioner of the BC Financial Services Authority formerly known as the Financial Institutions Commission, past vice president of the BC Council of Administrative Tribunals, and a board member of the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII). She  co-authored the BC Administrative Decision Maker’s Manual, as well as a number of journal articles.

In 2017, Ms. Salter was named one of the 25 Top Most Influential Lawyers in Canada, and was previously recognized as one of Canada’s New Law Pioneers by the Canadian Bar Association and an Access to Justice All-Star by the National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSLAP).


The Role Of Blockchain In The Resolution Of Legal Disputes

For many of us in the legal field, the noise around the role of technology in law has been difficult to tune out. While some have warned us that technology will replace the need for a lawyer, others have seen it as an avenue to improve legal practice. In particular, in the field of dispute resolution, there is clearly an added value brought by technology. With the rise of e-commerce, dispute resolution has also expanded to the online sphere.

Platforms such as eBay have gone as far as providing dispute resolution directly to their consumers. The use of online dispute resolution (ODR) is moreover promoted by the European Union (EU) through the ODR platform. The aim of the Commission in creating this platform is “to make it easier for consumers and traders to settle their disputes, without the intervention of a judge.” Furthermore, commercial dispute resolution enjoys the possibility for instant communication via the worldwide web and applications such as skype and google drive. Today, we no longer need to fly to a different city to sit across our opponent and can face them through a screen.


Curing The Pitfalls Of Mediation Clauses: Better Drafting Or Default Rules

There is undoubtedly a push to consider non-binding ADR mechanism such as mediation when disputes arise. ADR offers parties the potential for a time and cost effective dispute resolution mechanism. However, in the promotion of mediation, significant issues have arisen regarding enforceability of both the agreement to mediate and the resulting settlement.

As it stands, there is inconsistency amongst national courts and arbitral tribunals faced with a party seeking enforcement of the mediation portion of their [agreement to mediate] clause, which results in increased costs and inefficiency while parties seek clarification regarding the binding nature of their agreement. Today, when parties opt to include a mediation clause in their commercial contracts, they are often times warned about the importance of careful drafting. In absence of drafting that follows the specific national requirements for enforceability, parties face increased transaction costs in attempting to enforce their obligations.