There are several options when it comes to disagreements during the treaty process. Many of these methods carry over into the resolution of all disagreements while others are suited more to high priority issues.
So, what are our choices when things get tricky:
1. Formal unassisted negotiations: This is one of the simplest forms of dispute resolution that involves both parties attempting to negotiate a resolution with each other. It offers a simple approach based on discussion but can become tricky to conclude.
2. Structured efforts with the assistance of a neutral party: This method has several options available in itself. It can often be considered the “next step” when unassisted negotiations hit a road bump. They are as follows:
a. Advisory council: A neutral body structured to resolve disputes that are not technical in nature and may require community members. Gitga’at Treaty seeks to develop an Elder’s council under this banner to aide with important decisions.
b. Technical Advisory Panel: A body of individuals skilled in a particular technical or scientific subject matter will aide.
c. Neutral Evaluation: a neutral evaluator is jointly appointed by the parties to offer guidance.
d. Mediation: A neutral individual or body will mediate the dispute to aide in resolution.
e. Other non-binding dispute resolution process: Finally as the catch-all, we have “other” to show that other neutral party assistance may be available.
Structured efforts with the assistance of neutral parties are excellent for adding an unbiased view to the table in order to put things into perspective. Finally there is one more path to be taken in more serious or complicated disputes
3. Adjudication or Arbitration:
Adjudication- The dispute will be passed on to a judge who will provide a binding decision to resolve the issue. This is the end all be all of disputes and should not be entered into lightly.
Arbitration- A non prejudiced outside party will make an order it considers appropriate. This order then becomes binding. This process allows a final decision to be made without bringing in the legal court. It is important to have these processes established before the treaty is finalized in order to create a path towards cooperation.
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