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What province are you in please?Please start at the beginning and explain the basic facts as I don't yet understand what you mean.
I don't know what the conference method is. I have been a lawyer in Ontario since 1985 and I've never heard of that.
Can you explain more?
Those conferences are mainly to get the parties to agree. That is for sure. The trial management conference is more for organizing before trial but even there the goal is to settle.
But the judge does not simply tell the parties what a court may do while some judges do that. Mainly they want to limit the issues or settle and could use their expertise to suggest what may happen in court.
The only way to get there is to start a lawsuit.
But what is almost definitely less expensive and also faster is to consider mediation/arbitration. How that would work is that you would hire a professional mediator who would try and get you to settle. If that proves not to be possible you would then (on a different day) go ahead with binding arbitration. That is where the arbitrator conducts a full hearing and then makes a binding decision.
This can only be done if both parties agree to it.It is expensive as you will have to pay your own lawyer and split the cost of the mediator but it is likely a fraction of what it will cost to go through the full trial process.
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You should really not self-represent. It is pretty well the same as court.
Many mediators/arbitrators will not agree to someone self-representing.
It will depend on how complex the issues are.
I don't know what your mediator will cost but in most cased they cost quite a bit more than you are suggesting if they are experienced.
Is there anything more I can help you with at this point in time?