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Life means life with mediation

We’re back at the Ricoh Stadium in Coventry where a mediator has finally been appointed during the proceedings which are currently in the court of appeal.

The mediator hasn’t been named and both sides aren’t telling who it is or what stage the mediation has reached (but presumably it must still be pretty early on!)

You may recall that in November the parties in the ongoing dispute over the sale of the Coventry City stadium were ordered to get round the table and sort matters out, failing which the matter would be heading for a judicial review (and still will be).

Speaking at the time Judge Irwin reminded the parties of both the historic relationship between Sisu (who own CCFC) and Wasps, to whom the stadium was sold, and the future probable relationships which they will have.

Sisu argue there was unfair use of state aid in the sale and that the stadium was grossly undervalued when sold.

As with many mediations where relationships are not at an end it’s important for the mediator to discuss the possible impact on all parties of the ongoing harm that a dispute can cause and look towards the possible future of working together for the benefit of all involved.

Meanwhile in Yukon (Whitehorse City) employees of the city including transit staff have asked for mediation regarding working conditions and pay.

President of the Yukon Employees Union Steve Geick said that in addition to pay raises disputes had arisen around the removal of severance pay for retirees the equivalent of a 2% reduction in pay.

‘It’s not a great way to encourage new people to come to the city…It creates a lot of animosity”

If the mediation does not work the union may well go on strike bringing the city to a standstill.

Geick added “Everybody, when they hear the word strike, everybody freaks out…It’s not really good for anybody but at the end of the day it’s the last bargaining chip that the members have.”

The city in response said “It is unfortunate the unions walked away from conciliation talks last week.… When the union walked away from talks, there was a significant gap between the economic ask of the unions and what the employer could offer.”

The change from conciliation to mediation is as much a declaration that the union still wants to resolve issues but wants assistance from a third party who can help them find a way forward.

If you need more evidence of where mediation skills can be vital, in a very literal sense, have a look at the Guardian’s article dealing with the mediation work carried out at Dartmoor prison.

The eye catching quote from one of the participants, a lifer, is “If I’d known this years back, I might not have taken a man’s life”

As violence in jails increases Dartmoor brought in Maria Arpa and her husband David Ellis, both leading mediators.

Arpa is a specialist in engaging with violent people and her charity The Centre for Peaceful Solutions regularly works with gangs to resolve inner city violence.

The first phase of her project at Dartmoor lasted nine days involved three prison officers and thirteen prisoners and taught those involved how to listen, resolve conflict and appreciate the values of each other. It may sound an odd concept but the use of non-inflammatory phrases, body language and mindfulness all come into play in any mediation, but will no doubt serve all participants all the better given the confines of the environment.

Arpa explained her process “What we are doing here at Dartmoor is completely new…We’re not talking about a one-off program; it’s a partnership with the senior management team over the next two or three years. We are going to ingrain the Road Map in every area of prison life, from the way staff interact with prisoners, to how prisoners resolve disputes themselves”

As with all mediation work listening out for the real reasons for problems is key and as part of the process Arpa and her husband taught the inmates how to discern key concerns from the surface words used.

Arpa’s reasoning behind carrying out the work is clear she says “It’s wonderful that men can learn to be, say, a carpenter while in prison. But what’s the point if, the first time you find yourself in a challenging situation after your release, you default to your old, violent defences? I want to demonstrate non-violent ways of interacting with the world.”

Mediators come from all backgrounds and following the start of training nineteen prisoners have qualified as mediators.

The Article is excellent and a moving testament to the power of mediation, one inmate participant says of a friend “He killed himself in another jail. If this had been in place, it would have given him a voice. He could still be here.”

Mediation saves lives and is cheaper, quicker and less stressful than running any case to court, it can help with any dispute whether it's an employment issue or the sale at an under value of a property, a fight with a neighbour, family issues, commercial disputes or inheritance arguments over a family business or asset contact Northwest Mediation on 07931318347 or via email at

neighbour mediation; commercial dispute resolution; commercial dispute; corporate dispute; commercial mediator; family mediation; inheritance mediation; property mediator;

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