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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

From the Master of the rolls (sort of) Mediation is the way forward

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.

One of the many benefits of being out and about seeing clients in person again is catching Radio 4 during the day.

This week’s Law in Action featured an interview with the Master of the Rolls Sir Geoffrey Vos. Now whilst I (and colleagues) may disagree with Sir Geoffrey’s view of how quickly and efficiently the Civil Courts adapted to remote hearings (a quick scan of twitter would suggest it ain’t all smooth sailing Geoff) Northwest Mediation does agree that steps need to be taken to increase the speed and reduce the costs and stress of cases, honestly I thought he was quoting my blog until he said “computerised claims system” where I thought he was going to say “mediation”.

Still the point was made and accepted by the MR that civil claims take too long and too high a toll in stress and cost on clients. Gosh if only there were a ready made way to address those problems….

The Michigan Attorney General’s department is braced for sanctions over the release of confidential mediation papers rom the Detroit’s bankruptcy in 2013 involving former governor Rick Snyder, I think when the DC fans cried “release the Snyder cut” this was not the disclosure they were after, although it’s better plotted.

Rick faces two charges from the Flint water crisis relating to neglect of duty.

Charles Ash attorney for Rick said There has been a massive breach of confidentiality...This was not an innocent mistake,”

Confidentiality is one of the three key pillars of mediation (shorthand round here we refer to VIP – voluntary independence and privacy) so such a breach is a pretty serious accusation, it’s one of the reasons Northwest Mediation shreds notes following the conclusion of mediations.

In West Virginia a judge has order the local firefighter’s union (International Union of Firefighters Local 313) and Morgantown chiefs back into mediation.

The pay dispute relates to the alleged failure to pay correctly for firefighters working bank holidays or on their days off (the union says the legislation requires they are remunerated either by TOIL or time and a half).

The city wants to pay 16 hours the union want 24, the judge in a comment reminiscent of my salad days in the family courts the judge asked why the parties were back in court over “only 8 hours”, to an objective observer your might think there is an obvious splitting the difference figure which would possibly go a long way!

It seems to me bizarre (but then with this government what isn’t) that they would make commercial lettings disputes subject to obligatory mediation but not residential lettings.

The benefits of mediation for residents are vast, I attended this week a mock mediation run by the University of Strathclyde’s housing mediation team and (even in a mock case) the benefits far outweigh any perceived draw backs.

One hopes that in due course (but probably not with this government) such a move might happen in the residential sector. In the meantime Northwest Mediation regularly assists tenants and landlords in dispute (in residential and commercial cases) and does so at a very reasonable fee and with a very high success rate.

The Australian Defence Minister, Peter Dutton has been ordered to attend mediation in a defamation claim made by him against refugee activist Shane Bazzi for calling Dutton a “rape apologist”.

Bazzi claims honest opinion and fair comment as a defence. Justice Richard White at the first hearing told the parties that this was not the biggest case and should be settled pre-trial.

The judge said “This is a relatively narrow scope and I would have thought the parties, acting sensibly, should be able to achieve a compromise in such circumstances”

An indication if ever there was one that the court has better things to do! Courts should be the place where novel matters get tried, everything else should be capable of settlement (and normally is) by mediation.

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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