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  • Ed

Starting off on the wrong foot?

Every mediation I’ve observed or conducted begins with doubts.

Some parties are openly of the opinion that the other side won’t engage or will suggest walking out at the start, others start with a more reasonable measure of caution.

Part of the mediator’s role is to encourage and engage with both sides to help them understand and appreciate that even the fact of attending a mediation (voluntary process as it is) is a positive step and evidence of a willingness to engage.

Those anticipated doubts are reflected in reports from Melbourne, Australia, about the scepticism of the parties in Indian businessman Pankaj Oswal’s case with ANZ Bank and their receivers.

Pankaj is involved in a $2.5 billion damages claim accused of underselling Burrup Holdings in 2012 and two days of talks are not expected to result in a complete settlement, but it is hoped they will narrow down the issues and reduce significantly the six month timescale the trial is set for.

At Northwest Mediation it is accepted that a healthy dose of scepticism is normal in all mediations and reflects an issue between the parties which may be from a breakdown of trust or a lack of understanding.

In either case going through the process of mediation will undoubtedly crystallise the issues between the parties, even if no final mediated solution is achieved at the first attempt.

Pankaj’s case is taking place after opening arguments have been made but before any evidence has been submitted and even if he doesn’t reach a settlement now, there is no restriction on trying again later in the case, saving the cost of the full six month hearing.

If you or your business would like to discuss using mediation to save costs and time of litigation call Ed Johnson on 07931318347 or contact Northwest Mediation at

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