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Mediation News Roundup (civil, employment and a bit of family)

I will be singing Blame Canada for the rest of today as we start this week with an article from Canada dealing with why advanced mediation (by which we mean before issuing proceedings as opposed to some extra special high tech evolution of the process) is absolutely the way forward. Canada has a slightly different legal system to ours but the points made are all valid, in civil mediation and commercial mediation it is imperative to avoid lawyers.

Doing so and going straight to mediators is often the best way to get a result you can accept without damaging the professional relationship you have with the other party.

Where you have an ongoing relationship it’s vital but even when you have “no intention of working with that bunch” ever again you still need to consider mediation as the first, best hope for peace.

Staying in Canada and looking at employment contract disputes we find that on teaching staff in the Saanich district are now to enter mediation to resolve issues over pay and conditions.

Those affected, over 500 employees, include carpenters, bus drivers, secretarial staff and office workers but not teaching staff.

Elsie McMurphy Vice Chair for the Saanich School Board said While we are disappointed that we have not yet been able to finalize a collective agreement with CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees) 441, representing the district’s unionized support staff, we are hopeful that productive discussions can continue with the assistance of a mediator”

The action being taken by the union members was as a result of noticing that whilst they had agreed to better benefit packages over the course of previous negotiations workers in other districts were now getting the same benefits but with more pay (which the Saanich workers had previously sacrificed for the greater benefits package).

Staying with employment issues for the moment, I am an occasional provider of voices for the ongoing Doctor Wheasel stories so it was of interest to me to see another voice artist’s case being sent to mediation. In Dallas a defamation case brought by an anime voice actor, Vic Mignogna, has been ordered to mediation by State District Judge John Chupp.

Vic’s most recent work was on the film Dragon Ball Super: Broly (no I haven’t either).

Vic brought the claims following accusations against him about inappropriate behaviour towards women. The claim is against Vic’s former employer (Funimation), two former colleagues (Jamie Marchi and Monica Rial) and Monica’s fiancé (Ron Toye).

In an odd step the judge also handed out copies of the abuse and threats he has received since dismissing all Vic’s claims against Jamie and a number of the claims against the other parties at an earlier hearing. I know Dr Wheasel has a hard-core fan base but I’m pretty sure there’s unlikely to be any threats to anyone as a result of the series.

Turning to family mediation most will have by now heard the news that singer songwriter (including of the second best Bond theme tune) Adele is divorcing from her husband Simon Konecki.

Unsurprisingly the pair have agreed to mediation, very sensible. When I have conducted family mediation for high net worth individuals it is often because they have well informed advisers who recommend mediation knowing it will be a quicker, more sensible, more sensitive and less adversarial way of resolving issues.

I do find the headline annoying both by its reference to “custody” (really it’s not the 1980s) and the other references to “private” mediation. All mediation is confidential (unless, like Katie Price, you decide to film and broadcast your session) so the description of the mediation as being private is really an unnecessary hype for the news media and not a reflection that less well known families would be going to public mediation!

Back to employment mediation now and the ongoing dispute between police commissioner (Jim Cullinan) and chief of police (Jim Knoblauch) in Oglesby.

The Mayor of Oglesby, Dom Rivara, has confirmed that Gary Peterlin has agreed to act as mediator, again the report talks about “closed door talks” as if that were unusual, it’s one of the three pillars of mediation (voluntary, independent, private).

The dispute apparently arises initially from Knoblauch’s request for leave to care for his wife and son who both have cancer.

The response from the city was to grant the leave and reallocate the work, the response from the Fraternal Order of Police (Union) was somewhat less sympathetic and a grievance was filed in relation to the new schedules.

Separately there would appear to be a political motive in relation to Cullinan’s response as he was originally removed form the ballot for commissioner before winning the position (which took place against the background of the election of the then Commissioner Dom Rivara to his new mayoral position).

The fight has caused fracturing within he police force and it seems eminently sensible that mediation takes place before more harm is done to the public trust.

As we’ve said before choose to mediate early and resolve your issues effectively, timeously, and with less stress and costs than going to your solicitor.

By having a deep and meaningful discussions with parties the mediator elicits what the true “red-lines” are and where there is the potential for compromise, it is with this structured period of reflection that the parties are then able to reach an accord.

The flexible nature of mediation and the possible outcomes make it an ideal way to resolve disputes in an ever changing world and the open nature of discussions in mediation whilst remaining confidential allows all sides to engage fully in the process and understand the needs of all involved allowing parties to reach a conclusion which both sides can live with and move on.

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, civil mediation or inheritance, wills and probate arguments contact Northwest Mediation on 07931318347 or via email at

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