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From playground to international conflict

I’ve blogged before about my daughter’s school having restorative ambassadors well now in Thanet another group of year 5 children are being taught how to use mediation skills to resolve disputes in the school.

Chilton Primary School in Ramsgate have a group of 12 children who are working in play time and lunch breaks to resolve any and all issues arising at key stages 1 and 2. Like all good mediators they underwent training, six weeks under wellness coordinator and teacher Michaela Gayle.

The initiative was originally founded with the help of the Devon and Shepway Mediation Service but the school now has peer mediation as an integral part of student life.

Natalie Barrow, deputy head, said “The Peer Mediation project worked very well last year and once again we are proud to have such a strong team of Year 5 children who take their roles seriously and are already making an impact.”

The more ingrained mediation becomes as a way to deal with disputes the better as far as Northwest Mediation is concerned, if a child is told they can mediate then by the time they get to running their own business hopefully they will know that the litigation approach is not always necessary and should remain the option of last resort.

Last week we blogged about the mediation work going on at Le Bretton Flats in Ontario this week in a development in the story it has come to light that the runner up bidder is also taking part in those talks.

Devcore Canderel DLS (DCDLS) has stepped up to try and save the developments as it considers the RendezVous partnership between Trinity Development's John Ruddy and Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk to be “falling apart”.

One of the benefits of mediation is that it does not bind parties with the constrictions of litigation, in which a non-party would have to jump through numerous hoops to be able to take part.

In mediation if both parties agree that a third would be helpful to the discussion then the third party can join and, as in this case, put forward alternative strategies and resolutions. In this case DCDLS’ plan for development placed more emphasis on amenities and less on housing than the winning bid by RendezVous.

DCDLS’ plan also included a linear park along the water front which was both publicly popular and environmentally more promising than the now proposed car museum.

DCDLS is made up of the Devcore and Canderel development giants but also includes co-founder of JDS Uniphase William Sinclair, Cirque De Soleil founder Guy Laliberté and Power Corp’s André Demarais and they have released a statement confirming they would be willing to merge the best of all plans into one workable solution for Le Bretton Flats.

Meanwhile in Turkey the final legislative steps been taken to bring into law mandatory mediation in all commercial disputes.

We are so far behind Turkey in the UK in this regard with litigating parties being encouraged, cajoled and prodded into mediation but not actually required, despite the success rates. The argument runs that making the step mandatory will reduce the effectiveness of the process, but we know mediation is mandatory in all but name in family matters and it works there so why not in commercial disputes?

Geir Pedersen is the new peace envoy to Syria for the UN and he arrived in Damascus this week confirming he would continue the mediation efforts of his three predecessors in trying to resolve the issues arising from the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Best estimates are that at least 350,000 people have died and the knock on displacement of millions of people has impacted around the region and into Europe.

In more mundane mediation news after nine days of strikes BEST (Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport ) union has called off strikes following an agreement to enter into mediation talks with the Maharashtra government and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

The dispute is between the rate of pay for BEST union members and those working direct for the BMC.

Neeta Karnik for the Union is pushing for a minimum 15 point increase in pay for the BEST members had been offered a ten point increase but rejected this in favour of attending a mediation to see what further steps can be taken to resolve the “glaring” disparity.

Other matters are being discussed in the mediation including the potential to merge the budgets for the BMC and BEST and the backdating of any changes to 2016. As often the case money is but one part of the mediator’s consideration.

Finally in South Africa the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights (CLR) and the National Watchdog on Religious Practices in South Africa have started a mediation with the SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) and the Shepherd Bushiri-led Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church.

spokesperson Mpiyakhe Mkholo said “After extensive deliberations, the parties agreed on the following – the immediate cessation of all hostilities from both sides, the CRL Commission will pursue negotiations with the church for possible support for the bereaved families”

Patricia Pringane, Matshila Sarah Mohlala and Lehlogahlo Maria Segodi were all killed in what is described as a stampede at the ECG church in December, a number of other congregants were injured and cases have been brought for the families of the deceased and the injured parties.

Maynard Manyowa for Bushiri said “We would like to express gratitude to the entire commission and representatives of Sanco who attended the mediation. We remain committed to engaging any and all stakeholders in the country…We totally regret the death of Nondumiso Patricia Pringane, Matshila Sarah Mohlala and Lehlogaholo Maria Segodi and again reiterate that we remain a ministry in mourning. We are committed to ensuring we support members of the family.”

From playgrounds to workplaces, from international conflicts to fatal accidents mediation is the way forward.

There are so many cases which could have been resolved by early intervention of mediation it continues to surprise me the lengths the public (and some lawyers) will go to avoid referral.

Whether you need a mediator to help out with a construction matter in the Northwest, or council’s plans in Cheshire, a civil mediator in London, a commercial mediator in Manchester, a dispute resolution for your family in Liverpool, a neighborhood mediation in Stockport, then our mediators at Northwest Mediation can help.

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; civil mediation; commercial dispute; corporate dispute; commercial mediator; family mediation; inheritance mediation; property mediator; civil mediator; civil litigation; fast track mediation; injury mediation

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