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  • Ed

Mediation not Litigation

In the far east Vietnam’s the Supreme People’s Court is drafting a law to strengthen the use of mediation and dialogue at court.

The draft order will include all civil cases, family as expected but also (as Northwest Mediation deals) business, trade, industrial relations and administrative cases.

The law will require the parties to engage in mediation before allowing proceedings to move forward to a court hearing and then only if the parties agree.

Which makes it sounds like the parties will have to agree to disagree before getting as far as a court hearing, such a move would be excellent if adopted in the UK but seems some way off at the moment.

The draft law confirms that there will be no recording of discussions so that the third of the pillars of mediation is upheld (confidentiality – the other two being the voluntary nature of the process and the less formal process perhaps being a little bit more shaken).

Nonetheless it’s good to see that Vietnam courts can see the benefit of the encouraging mediation from the very earliest part of the legal process, and indeed before the legal process begins.

Auto Glass America LLC of Florida (AGA) and its owner, Charles Isaly are being sued by Allstate Insurance company over what court documents describe as an “extensive and complex scheme to pressure Allstate’s insureds into hiring AGA for windshield replacements, obtaining assignments of benefits (AOBs) from insureds, submitting invoices to Allstate for excessive and unreasonable amounts and filing over 1,400 lawsuits for recovery of excessive and unreasonable amounts”.

It’s a complex case involving a tied in deal between AGA leading to their ability to provide allegedly inflated invoices payable by the insurer. It is not surprising that the extension to the mediation now granted goes to march next year.

The judge in the case Carlos Mendoza agreed the extension to the mediation no doubt accepting that the parties and their mediator will need time to prepare and consider the various paperwork submitted to date. Complexity is not a bar to mediation, in some cases it is a reason to adopt a mediation approach.

In criminal/employment mediation news Judge Barbara Buchanan has agreed mediation be tried at the request of the Bonner County Deputy Prosecutor Roger Hanlon in the case of an office manager for a midwifery centre.

The manager, Samantha Jeffries now Wasylko, is accused of embezzling upwards of $10,000 cash handed to her by clients of Pend Oreille Midwifery.

The defence did no object to the referral to mediation, and why wouldn’t she when the worst case scenario for her is 20 years inside.

Whether the mediation will simply focus on the facts of the case being agreed, or perhaps a plea bargain is not known but this is further evidence of mediation being accepted as a tool for all disputes civil and criminal.

Meanwhile in Fiji a mediation centre is so overwhelmed with cases they are looking for assistance (if they’ll pay for the travel and accommodation I’m happy to assist)!

The centre has a success rate of over 70% but is calling on lawyers to address the cases that they are now routinely referring to mediation, to do more before referral to see if they can settle the cases rather than refer them without giving any thought to the process or the cases.

This sounds remarkably like the tick box exercise some lawyers in the UK do for mediation, no explanation to their clients of the benefits or reasons simply saying it has to be done.

Elsewhere case loads of employment claims against federal agencies are causing a backlog so who you gonna call? The mediators, of course. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are now working together to battle through the huge and varied pile of cases against the Federal agencies, some of which have been going on for years.

I keep saying mediation is quicker, it feels like the courts all round the world agree or are doing their best to ensure that the delay if you don’t mediate are even greater.

And finally in pension news this rather good article by Rory Murphy confirms that mediation can help provide evidence of reasonable behaviour for trustees and employers when it comes to pension disputes.

The open nature of discussions whilst remaining confidential allows all sides to engage fully in the process and understand the needs of all involved.

There are so many situations 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 neighbourhood 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 wills/probate/inheritance mediation 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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