Lawyers who act as mediators or arbitrators generally enjoy coverage under the professional liability insurance policy (Part A) for negligence claims arising from the mediation or arbitration process.

In recent years, mediation and arbitration have been utilized increasingly as effective alternatives to litigation for the resolution of disputes. Given their training and experience, lawyers are often the mediator/arbitrator of choice for the parties involved. Although the nature of the activity coupled with the risk management practices of mediators/arbitrators means that claims are unlikely, any lawyer accepting the role has the comfort of knowing that the policy will respond, if needed.

Family dispute resolution professionals – mediators, arbitrators and parenting coordinators 

Under the Family Law Act,* lawyers who meet certain training and practice standards set by the Law Society may act as family law mediators or arbitrators. They may also act as "parenting coordinators" — assisting parents in relation to parenting arrangements and contact with children. Lawyers accredited by the Law Society as dispute resolution professionals are also obliged by the Act to maintain professional liability insurance for these activities, and the policy (Part A) satisfies this requirement.

Of course, coverage is only available for lawyers who pay the annual insurance fee, and other terms and conditions in the policy may limit or preclude that coverage. You will want to make separate inquiries in respect of any excess insurance your firm might carry.

If you would like the Insurer’s position as to whether you are considered a mediator or arbitrator for the purposes of the Policy, please send a detailed description of the circumstances, in writing, to one of the advance ruling advisors.

* in force March 18, 2013