There has been much publicity to date on the nature of the
year 2000 ("Y2K" or "millennium-bug") problem and the financial costs
and technical challenges that our society faces in dealing with it. However, there has
been very little public dialogue, to date, about how we will sort out the claims that will
inevitably arise from unresolved problems. Independent information technology consulting
firms estimate legal fees and other litigation costs with respect to Y2K disputes will
range from $600 billion U.S. to $1.3 trillion U.S.
We can use the courts to resolve these Y2K disputes.
However, in many cases, litigation takes too long and costs too much and has an
uncertain outcome. Certain alternatives to litigation more commonly known as
"alternative dispute resolution" or "ADR" may be a better, more
cost-effective way to resolve these Y2K disputes. In fact, President Clinton signed a bill
on July 20, 1999 that encourages parties with Y2K disputes to resolve problems using ADR
as the first resort and litigation as the last resort. The new law requires a prospective
plaintiff with a Y2K claim to send a written notice to each prospective defendant before
commencing litigation. Prospective defendants then have thirty days to provide responses
to the notice and advise whether they are willing to consider using ADR to resolve the
The Canadian Foundation for Dispute Resolution is working
to raise awareness, within the business community in Canada, of an international
initiative the Millennium Accord to resolve Y2K disputes. The Canadian
Foundation for dispute Resolution is a non-profit alliance of over sixty business
corporations and professional organizations in Canada working together to promote creative
and cost-effective resolution of business disputes.
The Canadian Foundation for Dispute Resolution and its
Millennium Accord Advisory Board believe that the Millennium Accord initiative is in the
best interests of the Canadian business community. And we encourage you to support it.
The Value of ADR
There are significant benefits from using mediation and
other ADR processes to resolve business disputes. Recent studies and court-annexed ADR
pilot projects demonstrate that cases resolved using ADR settle or otherwise resolve
themselves more quickly, at a lower cost, and with greater party satisfaction than by
going to court.
Success rates for settlements frequently range from about
60% to more than 80% often at a much earlier time. Important business relationships
are not unduly disrupted. And, in using ADR, you never foreclose your option of going to
court if that route ultimately becomes necessary.
The Millennium Accord
The Millennium Accord is an international initiative to
promote prevention and timely, effective resolution of millennium-related disagreements.
It consists of:
- Accord Principles short, specific
principles that incorporate reference to certain procedures before resorting to litigation
- an Accord Procedure for flexible,
fast-track negotiation and mediation;
- an Accord Contract Clause to include
in any commercial agreement which may give rise to a millennium problem; and
- a Declaration of Support a public
statement of commitment to problem solving through use of ADR not a legally binding
Our Role in the Millennium Accord
The Canadian Foundation for Dispute Resolution is
participating in the Millennium Accord with prominent ADR organizations in the United
Kingdom, United States, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore. Its purpose is to
promote greater awareness of the ways in which alternative dispute resolution can assist
business organizations in resolving Y2K disputes.
The Canadian Foundation for Dispute Resolution will
accomplish this by:
- seeking sponsors to assist us with funding
for our efforts to promote the Millennium Accord through selective advertising and
promotion, including costs of printing and mailing;
- encouraging media coverage across Canada to
raise awareness of this initiative;
- developing, promoting and hosting national Y2K
training programs for ADR neutrals (mediators and arbitrators) and ADR lawyers on
technical and legal issues, to enable them to become more competent and deal more
effectively with Year 2000 disputes;
- establishing an online "ADR-Connect"
information database to enable parties to conduct searches for ADR neutrals and ADR
lawyers on our Internet website, so that they can better identify neutrals or lawyers with
the requisite experience, training and/or capability; and
- establishing an interim Y2K roster of
mediators and arbitrators, with capability to handle Y2K disputes using ADR, until such
time as our national Y2K training programs are complete.
How Your Organization Can Participate
We need the assistance of leading business organizations in
Canada such as yours to ensure the success of these objectives . Potential
opportunities arising from use of the Millennium Accord's ADR procedure include cost
reductions, savings of time, maintaining important business relationships, and more
effective use of management time. Your organization can assist by becoming:
- a sponsor of the Millennium Accord,
- a signatory of the Declaration of
- a member of the Canadian Foundation for
If you need assistance in using the Accord to resolve
problems, we can help. Our new service, ADR·Connect, can help you
find the ADR professionals and services you need for alternative dispute resolution.
If you would like further information on becoming a
signatory or a sponsor, or if you would like to become a member of the Foundation, please
contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by
telephone at (416) 487-4733.
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