Geeta Bharadia, QC provides family law services as well as mediation and arbitration of all kinds of disputes. Her focus is to achieve positive and constructive conflict resolution. Ms. Bharadia has extensive experience in adjudicating and decision-making, having held quasi-judicial appointments for a total of over 10 years. She has worked in mediation and alternate dispute resolution for over 20 years and has been recognized as a leader in her field. She has conducted hundreds of mediations encompassing the areas of family matters (including parenting, separation, divorce, complex financial issues, family business and elder issues), employment law and human rights. She is also a Collaborative Family Lawyer and Parenting Coordinator and she works as settlement counsel.
Ms. Bharadia was the lead family lawyer for a national law firm for several years and has significant litigation experience. She is Past President of the Executive of Alberta Family Mediation Society and the past Registrar and she spearheaded the parenting coordination designation in Alberta. She received the Dr. John Haynes Memorial Award in 2012 for her outstanding contribution to family mediation in the Province of Alberta.
Ms. Bharadia fulfilled her term as Full Time Commissioner (and Acting Chief, in the absence of the Chief) at the Alberta Human Rights Commission and prior to that she was Chairperson, Canada Pension Plan Review Board. Her current quasi-judicial appointment is with the Law Enforcement Review Board. Ms. Bharadia also has training in Leadership and has been a Leadership Mentor for the Government of Alberta. She has been a presenter to lawyers, students and others in the area of alternate dispute resolution.
Ms. Bharadia is a member of the Law Society of Alberta. She has been appointed Dispute Resolution Officer at the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta for many years. She is a Registered Family Mediator with Alberta Family Mediation Society (AFMS), member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) and recently interim Chair of the Family Section of the international Association of Conflict Resolution (ACR).
[span3] 200, 638 11th Avenue, SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2R 0E2
200, 638 11th Avenue, SW
Mediation can reduce the cost, time and stress of going to court. In this process, Ms. Bharadia as a neutral mediator assists clients in stating their point of view, clarifying issues and effectively finding unique resolutions tailored to their own situation. The mediator uses this more creative negotiation process, with full and frank disclosure, to help reach consensus. Unlike court, since parties can control the outcome of the discussions they are often more satisfied with the resolution. Once an agreement is reached, a mediation report is prepared which should be reviewed by a lawyer for legal advice and to be put in a legally binding form. Ms. Bharadia is a qualified mediator with advanced training and significant experience in helping clients find resolutions. [/tab1][tab2]
This process is often used when parties need a decision-maker and do not wish to go to court . Ms. Bharadia is appointed by agreement of the parties pursuant to the Arbitration Act (Alberta) and essentially has similar powers as a judge. The advantage is that you can set a date for arbitration and obtain a decision much quicker than at court. After the hearing, the arbitrator provides her decision (or Award) and it has the same effect as a judgment in court and can be incorporated by the parties’ respective lawyers into a court order, if necessary. The arbitration hearing can be fairly informal or more formal and can take place with our without your lawyers present, based on what suits the case and the complexity of the issues. Arbitration can help resolve issues faster, with your decision-maker of choice, so you can move forward. Arbitration is a growing area of Ms. Bharadia’s private practice in which she can apply her solid background in adjudication.
Ms. Bharadia has over 10 years combined experience as a judge in a tribunal setting and has extensive decision making and decision writing experience. She is currently a sitting quasi-judicial member at the Law Enforcement Review Board. [/tab2][tab3]
This is a process in which, Ms. Bharadia, as a trained neutral third party is appointed by agreement of the parties to first attempt to resolve matters amicably through mediation. If they are unable to reach a resolution, an arbitration hearing takes place and a binding decision is made by Ms. Bharadia (arbitrator). This approach is seen to have the advantages of both mediation and arbitration. The parties work towards a constructive settlement on as many issues as possible and still remain in control of results if an agreement is reached. However, if they are unable to agree, then a binding decision is made on outstanding issues by the arbitrator. [/tab3][tab4]
Parenting Coordination is essentially mediation/arbitration of parenting issues. The parenting coordinator, uses mediation techniques to attempt to come to a settlement and, if this is not possible, then the parenting coordinator moves to the arbitration process and will make a binding decision. An important aspect of a parenting coordinator is a strong background in family law and child development. Ms. Bharadia spearheaded the training requirements for parenting coordinators in her role as President of the Alberta Family Mediation Society and is a trained parenting coordinator. [/tab4][tab5]
This is a solution orientated process used primarily in family and divorce matters with trained professionals. Divorce does not have to mean high conflict between two people. The focus of Collaborative Practice is the support, guidance and advice provided by your lawyer and other professionals as a team to reach a resolution with a commitment not to go to court. The parties and the two collaborative lawyers sign a contract together to work in a respectful manner and agree to disclose all documents and information related to the issues. If a lawyer or any of the parties discovers that the collaborative process rules are not being followed and continue not to be followed, or if the parties cannot resolve the issues, then the lawyer is obligated to withdraw and both parties then will be required to retain new lawyers. If an agreement is reached, one of the collaborative lawyers can draft the Agreement that will be signed by the parties. This process is quite different from traditional lawyer assisted negotiation where there are different rules for disclosure and other steps and the lawyers are not working as a “team”. Ms. Bharadia was one of the first Collaborative family lawyers in Alberta, has extensive experience in the process and has successfully worked on many collaborative law cases. Ms. Bharadia believes that certain cases can benefit from the Collaborative Law option. [/tab5][tab6]
This option usually takes place within the litigation process and can take place at any time, with each lawyer obtaining information and instructions from their client. Although the lawyers and parties may meet together to attempt to resolve matters, the possibility of a court application is often still in the background. Meetings take place between the lawyers and the parties (4-way meeting) although the parties may reach a settlement, this process may not be as efficient or as amicable as other options. Ms. Bharadia has successfully used this approach on numerous files if the parties are not using the collaborative law process or where the other party is not a trained in the collaborative process. She can also be retained by litigation lawyers as settlement counsel to assist with resolving a portion of their litigation files. [/tab6][tab7]
When all alternatives to resolving disputes fail or the parties simply cannot agree, they may have to proceed to litigation. Court applications are made and the parties usually present evidence in the form of a sworn affidavit. Questioning under oath takes place and this often slow process eventually may lead to a trial. The judge will make a decision based on the evidence before the court. The parties have much less control over the process or decision and litigation can be costly. Ms. Bharadia’s significant litigation background assists her in her alternative dispute resolution work. She may recommend litigation where a non-adversarial option is not appropriate or as a last resort. [/tab7][/tabs]