Marje Burdine Receives 2017 Susanna Jani Award for Excellence in Mediation

The recipient of this year’s Susanna Jani Award for Excellence in Mediation has a longstanding history leading, promoting and facilitating effective conflict resolution. I think you’ll agree that she has had an impressively positive impact.

Since the late 1970’s, she has volunteered with:

And been a Board member for:

In 1981 she began providing training and holding conferences around BC on family violence. She then went on to design a course, and write the manual for the first mediation course at the JI which she delivered in 1983. Within a year of that first class, she established the Justice Institute’s Centre for Conflict Resolution Training. She continued to develop collaborative conflict resolution courses for the JI well through the 1990s.

In 1990, she received her Master’s Degree of Education in Counselling Psychology and began turning her mind to the conflict and pain she was seeing workplaces. By 1995 she developed and taught the harassment and discrimination mediation course at the JI which was followed by being part of the team to develop one of Canada’s first Respectful Workplace Programs. She continued to work with Crown Corporations and correctional facilities to change the conflict culture of these institutions.

It is my privilege to announce that the 2017 recipient of the Susanna Jani Award for Excellence in Mediation is Marje Burdine.

About the Susanna Jani Award for Excellence in Mediation

The Susanna Jani Award for Excellence in Mediation, established in 2009is an annual award acknowledging a person who has made a significant contribution to the field of mediation in BC. Previous recipients include Ron Tucker, Gordon SloanSharon Sutherland, Peggy English, Lee TurnbullCarole McKnightSally CampbellM. Jerry McHale, QCJoyce W. Bradley, QC and Kari D. Boyle.

How Unbundled Legal Services Can Support Your Mediation Clients

Since January 2016, Mediate BC has been spearheading a Law Foundation of BC funded project to encourage more family lawyers to provide “unbundled legal services”. The BC Family Unbundling Roster was launched recently, already has 36 participating lawyers (as of March 15, 2017) and continues to grow.

How will unbundling and the Roster assist family mediation practices and clients?

Family mediators told us that many of their clients are not represented by a lawyer and are reluctant to seek legal advice due to cost. Few clients actually seek and obtain independent legal advice (ILA) on agreements even though mediators recommend they do so. While some free legal services are available (Access Pro Bono, Legal Aid duty counsel and Family LawLine etc.), they are not available in all communities and many clients are not financially eligible for these services.

Effective legal advice can help the process move smoothly and provide clients with the help they need to overcome roadblocks. If one party is represented and the other does not have access to counsel it can create challenging power imbalances and put the mediator in a difficult position.
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There are many ways in which unbundling lawyers can support the mediation process. The Unbundling Roster now provides you with a “one stop” resource to assist your mediation client(s) to find a lawyer to assist them. Here are some of the ways that unbundling lawyers can assist:

  • Providing legal advice before mediation
  • Providing legal advice, as needed, during the mediation process
  • Representation during mediation (attending the mediation sessions)
  • Legal coaching about preparing for and participating in mediation
  • Preparing documents for mediation
  • Drafting agreements coming out of mediation
  • Providing independent legal advice on agreements

The Unbundling Roster is not just a list of names. Each roster lawyer has provided detailed information about themselves, their practice, the types of unbundled legal services they provide and their approach to providing these services. Just click on the link to the full profile for each lawyer.

Hint: We know that lawyers vary in their support for the mediation process. Check out the roster lawyers’ profile answers to the questions that focus on whether they have taken mediation training and the number of mediations in which they have participated.

BC Family Unbundling RosterAs part of the project evaluation we will be seeking feedback from clients, family lawyers and family mediators. Your input will be critical in assessing whether unbundled legal services improve access to justice for BC families, particularly those who are using mediation.

Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. We appreciate your support!

Kari D. Boyle
Kari D. Boyle

Kari D. Boyle is the BC Family Unbundling Roster Project Manager. She is also the Coordinator of the BC Family Justice Innovation Lab, a Knowledge Engineer with the BC Civil Resolution Tribunal, Board member of the Courthouse Library Society of BC and member of Access to Justice BC. Kari served as Mediate BC’s Executive Director and then Director of Strategic Initiatives for ten years. She enjoys using her legal, mediation and leadership experience to collaborate with others to improve BC citizens’ access to justice. Kari invites you to contact her for more information at 604-838-2149 or

Mediate BC Announces New Med-Arb Standards of Conduct

Med-Arb is a unique hybrid process where, following a binding agreement, a med-arbitrator assists parties to resolve their issues through mediation, or by deciding any unresolved issues through arbitration. This newer process is gaining some popularity and interest from the public and dispute resolution professionals. It balances the opportunity to reach a mutually acceptable agreement and the certainty of resolution. Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation blog has recently featured a couple of posts on this new process. Some concerns raised in these posts are addressed by the new standards released by Mediate BC.

Mediate BC has released new Standards of Conduct for Med-Arbitrators.

Med-Arb: Standards of Conduct; Mediate BC Standards of Conduct for Med-ArbitratorsThese standards were developed by a joint working group from Mediate BC and the British Columbia Arbitration and Mediation Institute (BCAMI), their review of published materials from various jurisdictions, and the feedback of their peers. Adhering to the Standards of Conduct for Med-Arbitrators is one of the requirements for maintaining status on Mediate BC’s new Med-Arb Roster.

Apply to the Med-Arb Roster

With the publishing of these Standards, Mediate BC is now accepting applications to the new Med-Arb Roster. Similar to the Civil and Family Mediator Rosters, the Med-Arb Roster establishes a minimum standard of training, experience and professionalism for med-arbitrators. It also ensures those who use med-arbitrator services have recourse to Mediate BC’s complaints process based on the new Standards of Conduct, and ensures the med-arbitrators are suitably insured. The Med-Arb Roster also provides a hub for the public to find and access med-arbitrator services.

Med-Arb Roster Criteria for Admission

Mediate BC looks forward to launching the Med-Arb Roster for public access in the near future.