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Presumptions in Mediation

In last week’s blog I made an error in use of a particular cliché, transposing the word “holes” for “holds”. An error I’ve been making in that particular phrase for many years (so it turns out). One is a term from professional wrestling, what I had used was a phrase from a whole other world of sweaty bodies rolling round together.

It got me thinking about other misconceptions and presumptions and how they affect the way people deal with each other.

Often in a mediation, as with one I worked on earlier this week, there are mistaken beliefs about the other party’s reasons and desires. Twice this week I dealt with mediations where one person had presumed the other was acting out of vindictiveness when in fact the actions were out of need.

One of the many benefits of coming to Northwest Mediation is that we help parties break down their misconceptions, assumptions and presumptions by exploring what it is one side thinks they know, what they do know and what the other party may know, or think they know.

Where communication is ongoing between parties it’s easy for those errors to be corrected, but in most cases that come to mediation the lines of communication have either broken down completely or are so brusque or filtered via lawyers that neither party is able to understand the others true position or trust what is being said.

As highlighted in this week’s Law Society Gazette there remains a misconception about the process of mediation itself and a lack of trust in the process by some lawyers.

Mediation hands control back to the parties by helping them understand the other party’s position, not so that whole heartedly accept it and “give in” but so that they can find an agreement that both can accept and understand.

People still often ask the question before and during mediation “is what I am doing ok?” as a neutral party a mediator cannot comment the question has to be turned round to the questioner either as a question about why they feel the need to ask, or what they think the other party (or anyone else involved) might think of the position.

According to the article fully two thirds of mediations achieve a settlement, so trusting the process shouldn’t really be an issue, especially when most cases have at best a 50/50 chance of success depending on the court, the judge and the presentation of your case.

For now mediation remains voluntary, with the exception of family cases, and my point to those who will not engage whether lawyers or clients is not so much to explain why they should mediate but why, given the chance of settling your dispute and the vast savings in cost and time, you’d choose the lottery of the court room.

Property, probate, people, partnerships whatever your dispute Northwest Mediation can assist you and help you settle your disputes via mediation.

Call Ed Johnson on 07931318347 or via email at

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