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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Change is inevitable

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.


Change is inevitable. There was, for instance, as a kid I pretty much bounced off most injuries, these days things take a little longer, my back still troubles me a year since injury and sometimes just sleeping wrong can leave me with a new pain or, as today, a dead arm which 4 hours after waking is still aching.


We fear change, it moves us out of our “comfort zone” and brings new challenges, I call them challenges rather than problems or obstacles as (cf last week’s notes) language matters. It’s challenges because of change that generally result in clients coming to mediation, seeking a mediator with experience of helping with family or business troubles.


Some of those challenges are more familiar to me than others, in that you are fortunate indeed to hit half a century (as I nearly am) without some probl….challenges in life. Knowing where to look for a mediator when life presents challenges is difficult, the natural inclination in this country is still to speak to a lawyer first and then only later think about working through a mutually acceptable solution (honestly I wrote this not the AI though it does sound a bit robot-like) but mediation is an option right from the outset of any claim or case, and a chat with me costs nothing.


Some changes are of course welcome (new government would for instance be welcome sooner rather than later) and many couples I work with whilst not necessarily celebrating their divorce are happier apart than together and go on to build more fulfilling lives after mediation having concluded one aspect of their life.


Leaving your home and migrating somewhere new is a huge change and in New York the city’s duty to house those in need is under increasing pressure due to the numbers of recently arrived (and some not so) migrants.


The Mayor, Eric Adams, had requested permission to relax the requirements due to the number of people seeking asylum (nb language matters people first) and is doing so via mediation. Having announced a reduction in the number of days any family could stay in shelter offered by the city to 60 days the Legal Aid Society and Coalition for the Homeless said they were pleased that the court had agreed and ordered mediation as it was a chance for the city to actually fulfil its obligations including the acceleration of applications for work and extensions of permissions to stay.


The requirement to house homeless men (specifically) comes as a result of the case of Callaghan v Carey from 1979 it’s an amazing piece of law and is not too distant from the challenge (king in the north) Mayor Andy Burnham has set himself in the greater Manchester area.


Changes on the horizon and developments for mediators and mediation were hot topics at the EUIPOS mediation conference this week.


Though thanks to the idiocy and desperation of the Tories we are no longer part of the EU it’s still important to keep an eye on what our neighbouring jurisdictions are doing in mediation.


One of those developments is the opening of a mediation IP centre, previously offered as a second step there will now be an opportunity to engage in mediation from the very start (sound familiar?) so all cases involving trademarks and the like will be able to enter mediation early in and preferably before proceedings commence.


Jorma Hanski (from the Finnish Patents board) added that more was needed to be done to explain and convince businesses that mediation was their best way forward, rather than the win/lose mentality of the litigation lawyer (yes I know) to the win/win of the mediation. I’m never sure that even using the words wining is helpful when talking about mediation but I get and agree with the spirit of the comment. Maybe it comes from years of role playing, winning isn’t a thing, moving forward and development is always the goal.


One notable failing so far in the EU is that no one has signed the Singapore convention on mediation (oddly enough the UK has – and no it’s not a Brexit benefit each member state can choose to sign up).


The idea that the EU should become an international ADR “hub” was also mooted, it makes sense, strong physical and financial links in the block which is in many ways a superstate already bringing even more disputes for resolution talks into the EU (either in person or remotely) would promote not only the profession but would be to the benefit of most businesses with the hours lost in litigation.


And of course the question of to mandate or not came up, both sides were represented and I’m still of a view that voluntary acceptance of any agreement remains key but as time goes by the argument to make it a requirement to try mediation becomes more convincing. As mediator I’ve settled cases with reluctant parties and as a lawyer I’ve seen cases which could and should have been settled long before settle on the trial date, it’s a waste.


And the age old “atrociously damaged revenues” argument was dealt with head on, yes cases settle earlier but that leaves more work on harder cases, better client service is given by reaching an early resolution than dragging matters out for costs, and they do.


Back on homelessness and the difficulties with cost of living has resulted in the Irish charity Community Law & Mediation having a case load skewed so that 4/10 cases were to do with housing problems.


If you read the article take some time to reflect on the case that Rose talks about, put yourself or a member of your family in that position and tell me we shouldn’t be doing more whether through primary legislation or encouraging councils to engage in mediation and helping parties access the assistance mediation can bring.


It’s not a miracle cure but speaking with a mediator and getting into mediation remains the cheaper, quicker, less stressful option in virtually all disputes.


What’s stopping you from finding out? If it’s cost, talk to a mediator, call me I’m always happy to chat through your options, no obligation on you to take up the offer but giving the savings in time money and stress, why would you not give it a try?


Many lawyers won’t refer you until you have already spent thousands so find out direct from me what I can do to save you time and money.


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 ed.johnson@northwestmediation.co.uk

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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