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  • Ed

The neighbours complain about the noises above

I’ve talked in the past about the types of disputes that mediation can help with, this week we see a number of examples involving a whole spectrum of areas of law.

Back to the progressive Singapore this week where in conjunction with the International Institute of Mediators the first mediation “club” will open at the Nee Soon group representation constituency.

Leaders and residents who want to promote mediation and conflict resolution with their neighbours can now do so, which is a good thing given what MP Ms Lee Bee Wah describes as " living in a very condensed environment". Football fans may know her name as Ms Bee Wah was recently accused of responsibility for turning off floodlights at a match at Yishun Stadium.

But in respect to the new club Ms Bee Wah was speaking after training had been conducted by the IIM at the Nee Soon South Community Club.

"What we hope is that if both parties are willing, and they want to continue to live in the community, perhaps mediation will lead to a better outcome”

The club will further promote mediation by training, workshops, competitions and conferences.

Lai Wee Yeong who was a participant in the training added "A lot of times when we encounter disagreements between residents, there's a need for a neutral third party because, usually, their first reaction is to go to the authorities, which may make things very bad,"

Employment law is another common area where mediation can help, in particular because there is often an ongoing relationship with the parties which needs to be upheld during difficult negotiations.

As evidence I present the current suit filed by a “Jane Doe” partner at international law firm Proskauer Rose, the case is the first of a list of claims now being pursued for gender discrimination.

In this first instance DC Circuit Judge Amy Berman Jackson has ordered the parties to mediation overseen by another judge, Barbara J. Rothstein who sits in a different part of Washington.

The key question raised is the gender pay gap with it being alleged the partner is paid less than her male counterparts for the same work. Appalling if true is her other allegation that she was threatened in an earlier pre-issue mediation session by one of her co-partners that she would be “terminated”.

The threat was such that the mediator has been summonsed and Jane Doe is seeking disclosure of the normally confidential notes.

The other key issue is Jane’s status as employee or partner, if the latter she is an owner of the practice, if the former she has the full protection of the federal and state legislation.

Back here and it’s divorce law news, where mediation has been in the accepted norm for many years. Baroness Hale, the President of the Supreme Court of England and Wales has supported calls for a no fault divorce and a one stop shop online procedure that removes lawyers form the process and hopes to cut costs and time as well as acrimony between couples which has a knock on effect on the children in many cases.

She said "The contents of the petition can trigger or exacerbate family conflict entirely unnecessarily. Respondents are encouraged by their lawyers to ‘suck it up’ even though the allegations are unfair…There is no evidence at all that having to give a reason for the breakdown makes people think twice. The decision to divorce is not taken lightly, but this is not because of need to give prove one of the five facts."

She went on that the current system encourages "unnecessary hostility and bitterness" and “adds needlessly to the anger, pain, grief and guilt felt by many – perhaps most – when their marriage breaks down, especially the one who was not expecting it".

Mediation will be key to making the process work as it aims to cut down cost, hostility and delay.

Finally not an area of mediation per se but good news to hear mediation being supported by charitable gifts.

Kinex, via its community support scheme has donated a “significant sum” to the West Sussex Mediation Service to be used further training the team who deal with a range of local disputes on a voluntary basis.

If you don’t know who Kinex are they are a communications and business support practice who help small and medium enterprises with their connectivity and utility packages and servicing, based in Manchester.

Kinex’s chief marketing office Susie Delve said “Our community support scheme provides financial help to a wide range of charities and organisations and we are delighted to be partnering with the West Sussex mediation service”

For the avoidance of doubt Northwest Mediation is open for voluntary contributions, and unlike The West Sussex Mediation Service is based rather closer to Kinex's headquarters.

Mediation is cheaper, quicker and less stressful than running any case to court, it can help with any dispute whether it's a neighbour dispute, an employment issue, the sale at an under value of a property, family issues, commercial disputes or inheritance arguments 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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