Civil Justice Reform and Mandatory Civil Mediation in Saskatchewan: Lessons from a Maturing Program


  • Julie MacFarlane
  • Michaela Keet



This article examines the development of the civil court-connected mediation program in Saskatchewan. The program was evaluated by the authors following its first 10years of operation, using focus groups and interviews with lawyers, clients, mediators and judges across the province. The resulting data shows a broad level of satisfaction with the mediation program among clients and a growing acceptance by the Bar and the Bench. There is an interesting alignment of views between some lawyers and clients describing a desire for proactive (albeit non-evaluative) mediators. The authors go on to discuss possible program enhancements to promote greater flexibility in case referral type, timing and management and to further extend acceptance of the program. The authors conclude that the Saskatchewan program provides a good example of a "maturing" court-connected mediation program, demonstrating the importance of changes in attitudes and behaviours especially among lawyers if justice reform in the form of court-connected mediation is to have a lasting impact on the adversarial culture of the courts.