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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Family Mediation Week (and other mediation news)

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.

It’s Family Mediation Week! (No it's not me in the picture and my clients don't normally hold hands). I note the drinks and in person networking sessions for the FMC are based in London (again- just like all the upcoming CMC ones) but let’s put our northern chip on our shoulder to one side and note that the various zoom meetings are covering a breadth of topics from language to practice to working with other professionals to the future of the profession itself.

It’s all good stuff, some of it is preaching to the converted but much of it is updating and informative, I now know I know less about pensions than I thought I knew but still more than I need to know and could quite happily get lost down that rabbit hole (maybe in another life I was an actuary, the number manipulation tables look so much fun).

It is also the feast of St Thomas Aquinas (the patron saint of my atheist youngest’s college) and to celebrate students are being encouraged to dress in black and white, the colours of St Thomas’ Dominican order.  Needless to say my youngest may choose to wear something brighter than her usual monotone in a small act of rebellion.

And black and white thinking (as any CBT graduate will tell you) is no good for you and certainly no good for mediation, we aren’t trying for the binary win/lose position suggested by that contrasting in shade we’re looking in the grey areas working between often two extreme positions to try and reach a goal. 

Often the hardest mediations are those black and white areas (a choice of schools being a common one) where there is no real mid ground but there is still work to do with clients in mediation to get them talking about the differences, they often forget they would be having this dispute about little Jimmy’s college even if they were together the mediation work is helping them find an agreeable way to deal with polarised issues.

In the world of non-family mediation the work of conflict mediators is advancing apace. In this article Thomas Greminger, head of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy explains how Switzerland still has a role to play in international disputes and talks about his previous work with, amongst others, Hamas.

As with many mediators he points out that when parties involved in talks lose sight of the underlying issues resolution is rarely likely to happen. In his opinion states lost sight of the Palestinian grievances and started dealing more with the threat from the perceived terrorist element of Hamas, which in turn prevent other opportunities to seek a longer lasting resolution.

You have to tread lightly when dealing with such horrendous acts, committed on many sides, and it’s interesting to note that he confirms Switzerland has many labels to use that are the dichotomy of bad-group and good-group, no black and white thinking ever resolved a war without complete obliteration of one side, and that seems equally unlikely in prospect and deplorable as a goal.

Duluth based outdoor wear maker Frost River is entering mediation with a competitor, Filson, based in Seattle over their Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny merchandise.

Sadly the parties cannot wind back time using any Archimedean device or otherwise to before the dispute so have decided the best way forward will be in mediation.

Frost River is arguing that Filson’s use of images from the movie show bags which they make and that as a result customers may mistake Filson’s products for theirs and consequently end up buying the wrong merch’.

One of the images used in the Filson promotion shows Indie and his goddaughter Helana carrying packs and other luggage which Frost River points out are theirs but the writing under the add suggests they are Filson packs, luggage and duffels bags.

Frost River did not have a marketing agreement with Lucasfilm (the studio involved in the latest – please the last – instalment of the Indie franchise) so couldn’t directly reference that their kit was used in the movie whereas Filson as a much larger outfit is able to take advantage of its size and connections.

Kudos to whoever tried to include Lucasfilm as a defendant incidentally but that claim was knocked out early in proceedings leaving the two manufacturers to sort things between themselves.

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. 

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

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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