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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Don't be scared visit your mediator

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.


Some clients can be scared of mediation, unsure what it looks like how things will proceed and whether they will be able to get themselves heard. I always to as the mediator to put clients at ease in the first call and give them the chance to talk to me about any concerns. That approach carries on throughout the process ensuring not only that clients are heard (by which I mean listened to) but also that they are comfortable with the next steps, what they are, why they are necessary and what (in the unfortunate event occurs) happens if things do not proceed by mediation.


This week I look at a couple of cases where mediation has not worked out and one where it's only just begun.


Speaking for being scared here’s a story about being too chicken to mediate? OK it’s not actually the parties tried to mediate but without success on tis occasion. Oklahoma (Oh!) state and poultry farmers have been trying to reach an agreement in relation to the pollution from the farms washing into the Illinois river.


The case is 18 years old and the poultry farmers have asked for the case to be dismissed as the way in which run off works has altered considerably in those years to make the original case potentially nonsensical. There as a 13 year gap between final hearing and judgment, so it’s not exactly a speedy process even by UK court standards that’s poor.


No reason is given for the delay and the farmers on my reading are trying to lay part of the fault at the door of the state for not chasing for the decision, to be fair to the state surely the court has a duty not only to produce timely judgments (justice delayed is justice denied) but to explain a delay which in any other circumstance would be negligent!


Delay is one of those things that we talk a lot about in the reasons for coming to mediation, I’ve had cases where clients have been fighting via the court system for years in some cases but I think 13 years is significantly longer than most of the cases I work on.


It seems to me whether this case is struck out or not the benefits of trying to find a mediated solution to whatever the case would now look like if reissued is the way to go. One of the many benefits of talking to a mediator like me is that you are not limited to the case as stated in discussions you can bring in other items and get them all resolved.


I suspect that even with the “failed” mediation inroads will have been made in understanding each both sides’ cases and given that talks of one kind or another have to continue between farmers and state it won’t all have been wasted time (and in a case this long time is probably irrelevant!)


Meanwhile the Portland Association of Teachers are slowly working towards an agreement, by mediation apparently one meeting away from strike.


Higher pay, class size and allowance for preparation time is all on the table for discussions, you may have heard this week our useless PM suggested this role could be taken by AI, of course he does as he’s trying to woo Elon et al to the UK with no doubt less regulation.


In the school dispute the parties remain allegedly $221m apart and whilst hopes remain that more funds will be made available perhaps not $200m, it’s good to hear in this piece that they feel positive there will be further movement before strikes are called, and texts will be sent to confirm the position to parents on the morning of the strike.


Amazing use of technology and nice to hear from students in this piece often he forgotten members in these types of employee/employer discussions.


You’ll hear that the teachers want something acceptable to them and parents the department of education says they don’t have access to any other money so need to fund any changes from the pot they have, it’s a familiar argument, government won’t fund so local authority or department can’t fund. Never ceases to amaze me that governments so willingly fail their young people (I won’t hark back to the HMG’s poor performance in the pandemic but you’ll recall the hokey cokey of open closed that the useless department undertook in 2019/2020).


Is it much to ask for teachers to be given the time to get to know students and give them the best hope and start in life?


Get into mediation and get it sorted! Of course the publication of demands goes against the grain of mediation which should remain confidential but often in these cases neither party is capable of keeping schtum until they get a result.


Ok let’s be very careful here, I can’t say what I’d like about the amount of time’s a certain one of Janet’s brother’s songs gets played at Halloween and why it makes me uncomfortable that it still does without anyone passing comment. And although it was written by an alumni of my old 6th form that doesn’t make it any better. So let’s quickly move on to why the confidentiality mediation provides is perfect for the performing artist to settle their differences.


The article says it’s “private mediation” tut! It’s always private and confidential that’s one of the three core values of mediation so no wonder Janet J is using it to settle a $200k law suit with her management.


Janet’s being sued for $240k plus interest by management company Nigro Karlin Segal Feldstein & Bolno. The claimants took a bit of time to find Janet to serve her, one would think a world wide mega star is fairly easy to locate but it wasn’t until she was in London that they managed to get the papers served on her.


Like many a good claim that comes to me in mediation the parties have been trying and failing to communicate for some months, but having managed to speak (via proxy if not direct) they have now advised the court that they are entering voluntary mediation to reach an agreement.


Most commercial mediations start with fairly aggressive correspondence followed by some attempts at defending and/or cajoling the defendant for payment and then eventually someone takes the step of speaking to a mediator and resolving the case. If you have a claim which could go the civil claim route speak to me and I’ll help.


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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