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From local to international

You’ll recall I blogged about Suffolk council’s mediation scheme on a previous occasion there’s a great piece in the local government magazine this month explaining the reasons.

It describes how from the 1980s when there were just 20 employment rights we’ve moved to a position where over 60 now exist. That coupled with the removal of tribunal fees led to the doubling of employment claims in some areas.

I know from experience how a badly handled complaint by an employee can quickly spiral into a crippling drain on management time, support staff and huge costs all leading to a bitter taste in the mouths of all involved if not dealt with promptly and properly.

Suffolk describes its desire to create a mediation culture so that everyone looked to trying to talk through the problems before they became insurmountable and so utilised the services of in house mediators.

It took steps to train all staff in mediation thinking not just those who would be doing the mediations.

In a time when all councils are under financial pressure it is a remarkable step to have taken but clearly Suffolk has seen the benefit both in the reduction in lost work hours and the saving in cost.

Meanwhile the Council of Europe European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) is helping member states by adopting a series of tools to help Member States to develop the use of mediation in all areas including those that Northwest Mediation operates in (commercial, family and administrative mediation).

Follow the link to the tool kit which has some great pointers for mediators. The CEPEJ is also looking at how to reinforce the use of mediation within member states, they could do worse than look at the CMC’s recommendations to the MOJ.

Moving from Europe to the world, in the form of the United Nations, it was announce this week that following the work of Singapore in promoting mediation a treaty will be named after Singapore.

An agreement covering corporate contract law The Singapore Convention on Mediation will be signed next August.

The aim of the treaty is to enable commercial bodies from differing legal countries to use mediation in cross border conflicts where ordinarily legal differences would prevent resolution.

K. Shanmugam minister for Law and Home Affairs, Singapore said “We are top quality in arbitration, and now we have a mediation product as well…Anytime people talk about mediation, they will look up the international treaty and they will know there’s a Singapore Convention.”

Staying in the Far East SHARPS (The Supporters for the Health and Rights of People in the Semiconductor Industry ) and Samsung have agreed to mediation in a ten year dispute over the illness (including leukaemia) caused to workers at the electronic giant.

It’s been two months since mediation was proposed but in a ten year dispute that’s not an unreasonable amount of time.

Samsung released a statement stating "The complete settlement of the case was the only way to console victims and their families, and it is socially valuable to do so"

The daughter of Hwang Yu Mi who died of leukaemia in 2007 and a member of SHARPS said "It is regrettable that we failed to settle the case surrounding workers who were sick and died by hazardous chemicals at workplaces, just because they were poor and weak…We cannot help but raise questions about the existence of the government and the company."

Previously Samsung Electronics has set up an $88 million fund and began paying victims but members of SHAPRS refused to accept the proposals offered within that corporate scheme.

A representative of SHAPRS said "We have been carrying out the protest to show the world that Samsung's leukaemia issue has not yet ended. We also needed to resume the negotiation stopped by Samsung…..After enduring for more than a thousand days, we have been able to accomplish everything…It has been really difficult to make the move to accept the mediation without knowing details…I believe it was difficult for Samsung Electronics as well."

Over in Guam another long running dispute, this time revolving around the rights to an incinerator, has been ordered to mediation.

The claimant company, Guam Resource Recovery Partners (GRRP), alleges it has the sole rights to a $200 million waste to energy facility on Guam, a position which is disputed by the Guam government.

This is the second time mediation has been ordered following a previous attempt in 2013.

Key this time round is allowing GRRP to proceed despite a law banning new incinerators.

Mediation 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 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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