The NWT Human Rights Commission has recently established an
Early Resolution policy and procedure. This policy represents an
effort to resolve complaints within 60 days of their being
This process is fatally flawed. The most important element of
any resolution discussion is that the comments made by all parties
during that process must be "without prejudice" and
cannot be used against that party in the event that the resolution
process is not successful. Parties need that protection if they are
going to engage in meaningful resolution discussions. This Early
Resolution process is not "without prejudice" and the
discussions parties have during this Early Resolution process,
which is conducted by one of the Commission's Human Rights
officers, are not confidential.
Instead, the Early Resolution policy specifically provides:
The information shared by both the complainant and the
respondent in this process is recorded and kept on
Notes of statements made by all parties during the Early
Resolution process are kept by the Human Rights Officer. Those
notes are then sent to all parties to allow them to make any
changes, and the final version of these notes are provided to all
parties to the complaint.
There is no guarantee that any statements made by any party
during this Early Resolution process, or any offers of compromise
that are made as part of that process, will not be used against
that party at a later date, in the event that the complaint is not
For these reasons we are advising clients not to participate in
the Early Resolution process.
There is no trace of this policy on the Commission's
website. If you are interested in seeing a copy of this policy,
please contact us.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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