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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Confidence is the preference

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 continues to use 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.

Keeping discussions private (confidential) and speaking with authority (confidence) both feature as skills of the mediator.

An article this week on the new and improved version of one party changing their mind when the mediator is shuttling between rooms or out drafting the agreement – how to make sure terms are signed off when the agreement is virtual?

As Ross Feinberg in this piece says the commercial mediator’s job is to find a settlement and get it agreed, I think technically it’s to help the parties find an agreement but that’s another discussion.

Making sure the parties have legitimately agreed to the terms and have signed them off (e-sign or real and then scanned or photographed) is crucial to make sure everyone knows what decision has been arrived at. In these remote Covid months I’ve found that repeating the terms to all parties whilst drafting agreements line by line or one topic at a time (an old trick from the family mediation playbook) means that when you get to the end you can read back all the agreed areas and half you work is done.

There will always be parties who decide between nodding and signing that they’ve changed their minds but keeping the momentum up and getting agreements out as soon as possible is part of the job.

Confidentiality is one of the three pillars of mediation and one man who knows more than most about confidential matters is former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

His own case against the FBI and Attorney General Merrick Garland for firing him has been ongoing for over two years but has now been ordered into mediation. I would expect given the confidential nature of mediation that all sides would be happy with that decision, and it’s a bit surprising no one got into the mediation room earlier.

It was actually the last but two AG’s who sacked McCabe (Jeff Sessions), since Jeff was in AG Bill Barr has been in that role and McCabe and Barr were pretty much daggers drawn and firing off against each other, now with Garland stepping into the AG role the parties have decided that common sense is a good thing and mediation is the way forward.

One can’t help thinking that many of the bizarre, rash and inflammatory decisions of the commander of cheese’s administration might benefit from a fresh, measured, tempered approach.

Gary Joseph in Ontario makes the argument for regulation of mediators, or at least registration of them in this article.

Here in the UK there are many people who act as mediators (teachers, religious leaders, community workers) who are not “qualified” or regulated per se and then there are mediators like Northwest Mediation who are both trained and regulated (in my case by the Civil Mediation Council and the Family Mediation Council).

Being regulated and more importantly registered gives the client of any mediation practice some comfort that the mediator is properly trained but as with those on the unregulated list above it isn’t any guarantee of success, that depends on the skill and experience of the mediator.

Mediations with Northwest Mediation are normally successful, I haven’t done the figures for the last twelve months but the continued commitment by clients to the process has driven virtually all the cases over the last year (civil and family) to a point where an agreement has been made possible with the guidance of the mediator (me and those who co-mediate with me) and the hard work of the clients.

I try to always remember to thank clients for their hard work in a mediation, that’s not to say it’s ever an easy job for the mediator but it is important to recognise that participants as much as mediators help find the ways forward.

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 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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