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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Avoiding damage to livelihoods and homelessness via mediation

With the limited access to courts and lawyers mediation is even more so now than ever the best choice to find a resolution for your dispute. Get your dispute resolved now while you can’t go anywhere you can really concentrate on what’s important and what deserves your time and energy.

Northwest Mediation uses Zoom, Skype and FaceTime as well as the phone and emails to resolve disputes so please do not feel that you cannot contact us as there are limits on physical meetings.

In North Sumatra villagers are campaigning to have the World Bank uphold its commitments to the environment.

The World Bank’s private finance arm (International Finance Corporation – the IFC) received complaints from the villagers in 2019 regarding the proposal by PT Dairi Prima Mineral (DPM) and has since accepted its involvement due to the link to the Postal Savings Bank of China.

The IFC has a Sustainability Framework which is not necessarily in alignment with DPM’s proposals to expand its mining operations and as part of the complaint the IFC’s ombudsman has (according to the executive director of the Inclusive Development International, David Pred) “undertaken its assessment to determine whether the case is suitable for dispute resolution or if it should be transferred to a compliance investigation”

David expects the report to suggest and encourage the parties into mediation including the majority Chinese government owned China Nonferrous Metal Industry’s Foreign Engineering and Construction Co Limited (NFC) owners.

The dangers of the expansion include potential pollution of drinking water and damage to dams with the resultant threat of flooding.

If the mediation is not engaged in David has suggested that the funding for the Postal Savings Bank could be cut off entirely. It’s always good to know the alternative to engaging in mediation, whether it be court, arbitration or simply the complete cessation of work on a project!

In teaching news over in Rhode Island retired supreme court justice Frank Flaherty has been agreed as mediator by the Providence Teachers’ Association and the State’s education department to resolve the issues over contract changes.

The teachers have been working without contracts for a year and last week 250 of them were told they had failed to achieve the necessary English language teaching standards to continue in their roles. That resulted in the members of the union holding a no confidence vote in the education minister, Angelica Infant-Greene. A no confidence vote in a minister, sound familiar? See last week’s blog for why Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond should have gone to mediation.

In a personal injury claim following the parties’ virtual meeting in mediation a $130,000 settlement was achieved. The claimant had been hit in the car park of the Stop & Shop in Stratford (no not the one where the Bard came from the one in Connecticut).

There are those who say the defendant Stop and Shop owner’s statement which was apologetic in tone meant that there was little choice other than to settle as the risk of larger awards by jury trial was too high in light of the timbre of the witness statement.

There are those of us who would consider it not only sensible to apologise but vital in some mediations as it is often the apology that turns a dispute from entrenched to resolved. That apologising is seen in some instances as a weakness or worse an admission of fault as opposed to common decency has long held back parties from reaching a conclusion. In mediation if parties want to apologise privately that’s a great step forward. Even getting parties into mediation can be a struggle if one or other side thinks the very act of discussing an issue is an admission of fault – it never is it’s an acceptance that peoples experiences differ and that those differences sometimes lead to dispute which then need addressing, and preferably in a polite, professional manner with the help of a mediator like Northwest Mediation.

In New Jersey a law sponsored by senators Joe Cryan and Troy Singleton has been signed into law ensuring that all foreclosures attempts must go to mediation. I know I often say I prefer mediation to be voluntary but making the active consideration of the process mandatory is absolutely the way to go in my opinion.

Troy said of the legislation “For more than a year, New Jersey has been in the midst of both a public health crisis and an economic crisis. During this time, many were struggling with unemployment and could not pay their mortgage. We must give homeowners every tool possible to stay in their homes. By making sure homeowners are aware of free mediation services, we can help them avoid foreclosure. We have worked too hard to address the previous foreclosure crisis and must do all we can to avoid it from happening again."

Joe added "Our residents are experiencing terrible hardships from the coronavirus crisis, including the threat of foreclosure of their homes. The mediation process can help protect them by making use of help from attorneys, housing counsellors, and a neutral mediator. This will help provide them with the information they need to resolve a loan delinquency so every participant can reach an agreed-upon agreement that satisfies the obligations and commitments of everyone involved."

Under the act the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (with the natty acronym of NJHMFA - straight out of Line of Duty) will buy the residential properties and work with the families to try to avoid eviction. We absolutely need to be working hard to avoid homelessness as a result of the impact of the pandemic on people’s employment, when furlough ends here we will see too many of these cases going to court. If you find yourself potentially losing your home contact Northwest Mediation and we will communicate with your bank or building society to arrange a mediation.

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 the tunnel and see the light. 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 Northwest Mediation on 07931318347 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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