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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Difficult conversations made easy

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.

Some of us didn’t see loved ones last year, some of us didn’t have parties with colleagues or friends and no cheese or wine evenings, with or without Secret Santas. Some us played by the rules, and most of us with any modicum of morality find the antics of the privileged few reprehensible. That’s before we even get to the lying about it, covering up, refusing to investigate or telling us that as loved ones died alone our problems with parties and what was or was not done is “trivial”.

This year some of us will get to see family and friends, possibly, if the rules don’t change and we’re all likely to have discussions about Covid, jabs, restrictions and freedoms (which beachcomber Raab is removing by the truck load). Those discussions may well need a little mediation guidance and Christine Ens at Mediation Services is offering an online course to help you have those difficult conversations about how and why it’s ok to change your mind and why listening to the other person’s point of view is key.

Mediation is all about difficult conversations and discovering once you start talking (and more importantly listening) they can turn out to be not so difficult after all.

In the Philippines the all too often approach of lawyer ducking mediation is occurring in the case of Olympic athlete EJ Obiena (if you can say that without hearing Ultravox well done) Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa!)

(this is not a picture of Obiena it's the only one of a pole vaulter I could lay my hands on)

Cagayan de Oro Second District Representative Rufus Rodrigues has accused Obiena’s counsel (Bobbet Bruce) of dodging mediation to discuss whether the pole vaulter’s coach (Vitaly Petrov) has not received his correct payments!

Bobbet has responded that his client’s concern is the cost of mediation when he is unfunded (still affording a lawyer you’ll notice oh but the ever so much cheaper mediation is where the expense for the client will be!) oh but the reply is…

“Mr. Chairman, Attorney Iroy has already stated that the fear of Attorney Bruce that there would be a very expensive arbitration is not true, in fact PDRCI offered it for free but the PSC will give some very minimal amount. The problem is EJ camp through Attorney Bruce do not want to go in mediation, they have other fears Mr. Chairman”

What they might be concerned about, according to Patafa, is that 85,000 Euros which has already been ordered returned has actually been incorrectly applied and spent but that it needs to come back to finance the coach. They may also not want Patafa to know where the money went (follow the money and see where it goes) but Obiena has insisted he used his advisor’s account to pay the funds so is not due to repay anything. The issue on the table would appear to be if the third party payment was in fact an after the event attempt to silence the complaint and hide wrong doing even if the correct sum may have, in fact, eventually been paid.

I say it every week, but in this article there’s some number crunching (granted from Long Island but similar comparisons apply in the UK) on the savings made in divorce mediation as opposed to litigation.

Three to six months instead to 2 or more years for financial disputes, sounds about right, although currently courts may take a bit longer. The article quotes mediators at $300 per hour and lawyers up to $500 the difference in the UK’s favour and certainly what I charge at Northwest Mediation is that a flat fee for the work is normally available, so where a lawyer might charge £200 per hour (and £20 per short email or letter) on a case where I charge £600 for the whole lot initial calls, joint sessions, agreements, OFSIs and MOUs you’re quids in!

And yes the likelihood of sticking to agreements is higher in mediation, no one likes being told what to do (though show your covid passport for god’s sake it’s a minor inconvenience to allow a bit of normality before next year’s lockdown)

The three pillars of mediation remain it’s voluntary, 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.

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 (like Bobbert).

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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