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Professors Heavin and Keet co-recipients of the Charles D. Gonthier Research Fellowship

On May 6, the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice (CIAJ) announced that Heather Heavin, Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies and Michaela Keet, Associate Professor at the College of Law, were the co-recipients of the 2016 Charles D. Gonthier Research Fellowship for their research project entitled “Risk Analysis: A Methodological Approach to Early Case Assessment in Litigation and Settlement.”

Their project is focused on enhancing the capacity of legal counsel to provide competent advice in the early stages of the litigation process through the use of a risk assessment methodological approach. The approach, according to Heavin and Keet, will enable lawyers and mediators to more systematically evaluate the strength and weakness of a legal action; identify and evaluate their client’s interests; and calculate the anticipated financial value of the legal action. 

“As the cost of legal services is often prohibitive for many Canadians, a more accurate estimate of financial resources required to achieve the anticipated financial result, will be extremely beneficial,” said Heavin, “especially when that estimate can be provided early on in the litigation or settlement process.”

Heavin and Keet also believe that the results from this project will form the basis for future training and education for law students and legal professionals as techniques and skills in risk assessment and risk analysis become increasingly in demand.

“We anticipate that this methodology will be one of many tools used by mediators or judges when attempting to facilitate negotiation aimed at resolving disputes at either post-pleadings or pre-trial stages of an action,” said Keet.

Heavin and Keet will present the results of their project at the CIAJ Annual Conference this fall.

Created in 2009 and named in honour of the late Mr. Justice Charles D. Gonthier of the Supreme Court of Canada, a former president of the institute, the Charles D. Gonthier Research Fellowship of $7,500 is awarded annually to an academic selected by the jury who will best research the topic of CIAJ’s annual conference.