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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Avoid stress go to mediation

With the continued backlog of cases mediation is now more than ever the best choice to find a resolution for your dispute. Get your dispute resolved now so you can really concentrate on what’s important and what deserves your time and energy.

Northwest Mediation continues to use Zoom, Skype and FaceTime as well as the phone and emails to resolve disputes should we add we also do live in person mediation too! So please do not feel that you cannot contact us if you would like to mediate but wish to do so remotely.

Back to school – the words dreaded by many children this week (or last depending on where your kids are in the system). It’s a time for new friendships or strengthening old ones (though unlike back in the day kids are in touch with each other daily one way or another even when out of school) a time for new challenges as well, my youngest started college this week and has found the odd time tabling and “free” time a bit of a challenge. Being in so fewer subjects and lessons means a more intense period of study so it’s important to remember self care during this time.

I was reminded that we as mediators also need to be alert to self care, we go through some very intense periods with clients who we see over a few weeks or a couple of months and then never again and we need to be able to decompress. It was interesting to hear in my PPC group session how many of us run for relief, some more seriously than others I’m a 5k three times a week more than a 10k or marathon runner and whilst I always check in with clients as to how they decompress it is easy to forget that we need to as well. The last few weeks have been difficult both personally and professionally, nothing earth shattering but just tricky and realising I hadn’t run for a few weeks has got me back out and running again (though watching the now constant bad back and delicate right calf!).

The stress of any case is part of the reason why mediation works, yes it’s cheaper, yes it’s quicker and yes you (the client) keeps control of the outcome but primarily it’s the avoidance of stress in court and leading up to court and discussing court and the case with family/friends/lawyers that you want to avoid. Stress is a killer, I’ve seen it in the legal industry and come close myself so anything you can do to avoid it should be welcomed.

Lecture over let’s have a look at mediation in the news.

And it’s my favourite area inheritance mediation. Over in San Francisco the family of senator Dianne Feinstein are arguing over her late husband's estate.

Roger Picquet, senior judge, ordered the family to attend mediation where the discussions will be confidential and not open for inspection. The judge had to be parachuted in from another state as one of the parties, Katherine Feinstein, used to sit in San Francisco as a judge herself.

Katherine is challenging the set-up and management of a trust created from her father’s estate accusing trustees of elder abuse, a relatively new term this side of the pond but seen regularly over in the us (cf I Care A Lot starring Peter Dinklage and Rosamund Pike for notes).

There’s a gated community owned by the trust which Katherine is accused of changing the locks on, whilst this may sound like a movie caper but it’s actually not unusual in inheritance mediations to find a party has locked another out of a property. In one case I had the kids locked the newly widowed step mum out (she wasn’t named in the will but had a claim for support from their late father).

Getting keys so she could access her own belongings within the property was an early win in the negotiations on that occasion and led to an eventual agreed outcome.

In public the senator has effectively said her daughter’s in charge of her finances so doesn’t need to involve herself, but behind the scenes you know there’s stress and arguments between mother and daughter after all who hasn’t manged to get the wrong thing for their mum when given a shopping list of instructions? Remind me to tell you the tale of the pasta shapes some day.

It’s always interesting to see what other jurisdictions are doing with mediation India is quite a long way ahead of us I feel in adopting much of the Singapore convention the Mediation Bill 2023 brings together a patchwork of mediation requirements into one framework.

It includes referral automatically to mediation for civil and commercial cases as well as family and oversight by the newly created Mediation Council.

It sidesteps impacting on other mediation requirements in certain tribunals and court ordered mediations so is an amplification of the use of all forms of ADR rather than a simplification or removal of mediation in areas where it already works well.

It also confirms governmental disputes will be dealt with by mediation, I for one am not a fan of governments doing anything much behind closed doors, such deals being done in a room where it happens without knowing how the sausage was made leads to an easy allegation of corruption, favouritism and cronyism so beloved of the current HMG UK.

The draw backs are there in the council set up, not all are mediators and all are government appointed, but I can see that being changed over time to err on the side of the professional inclusion on the panel.

The law also ensures that agreements are legally enforceable (something I have to explain to most lawyers about settlement agreements where they haven’t previously had any mediation experience is that at a basic level where there is offer, acceptance, consideration and an intention to be legally bound you have all the elements for a contract and it is therefore binding!)

In Maine the Mills Administration has asked for mediation with state workers of the MSEA-SEIU Local 1989. With the Department of Administrative and Financial services saying the parties remain millions apart in terms of pay and benefits mediation has got to be the way forward for these bodies.

The cost of living crisis means people are buying less so corporations have less to spend on wages which in turn means people are buying less so corporations….and so it goes round. But with state workers one could argue there is a big fund available, yes it’s a hobby horse, increased wages does not equal increased inflation, over her even the BoE own study found that was the case with the only major increases in wages being in the City yet every politician will trot out the same line increased wages risks inflation (so long as it isn’t their chums in the city suffering in the pocket). Roll on the next government comrade (and yes I know Starmer isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but at least he has competent and mostly honest colleagues).

The three pillars of mediation remain it’s voluntary (at the moment), it’s confidential, the mediator is independent, by using those pillars to support your work the parties keep control, save costs, save time and energy and reduce stress. Finally this one is mediation, mediator jointly appointed, areas of discussion agreed and intention to be bound by the outcome.

In person or via electronic media 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 so you can get out choose a different path, not quite the road less travelled but perhaps the path less adversarial. You have an interest in the outcome the sooner you get round the mediation table the quicker you can move forward and avoid the grilling a cross examination in court would put you through.

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 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 me at Northwest Mediation on 0161 667 4418 or via email at

neighbour mediation; commercial dispute resolution; civil mediation; commercial dispute; corporate dispute; commercial mediator; family mediation; inheritance wills probate mediation; property mediator; civil mediator; civil litigation; fast track mediation; injury mediation

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