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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Funding Mediation

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.

Funding, it’s at the heart of much of what business and government does (often at the expense of wellbeing). In North Carolina, Mecklenburg county commissioners have approved a budget of $2 billion for funding local schools but significantly held back $56 million for Charlotte-MecklenBurg schools demanding to see improvements in the county’s schools.

The school board has however challenged the withholding and begun the ADR procedure written into North Carolina state law (which also requires “adequate funding” for schools).

One of the key elements the commissioners want to see is detailed planning to address race based disparity within the system and in the outcomes for the children.

The funds withheld are supposed to target administration not learning, but with most schools cash strapped that seems a wish rather than reality.

The law as implemented requires first negotiation and then appointment by the parties of an independent mediator and finally if that doesn’t work a hideously complicated calculation to work out the funding – the parties have reached stage two. School board chair Elyse Dashew said the withholding was an act of “grandstanding” and “political theatre” and said she was “dismayed that this funding dispute has reached the point where we must seek statutory resolution but we will not sand by while the County impedes our efforts to educate students”.

A good mediator will of course work with both sides to find a workable solution, withholding funding is often seen as the “only” method to enforce action but it rarely is once the underlying concerns are properly examined.

There’s at least one article every week outlining the benefits of mediation in one arena or another this article sets out what the author (Burggraff Trash Levy PLC) sees as the five big ones.

You’ll be familiar with these if you pop in here regularly and read the Northwest Mediation blog but for good order the five are:-

ONE Saving time and money – I’d argue that those are two distinct and separate benefits but if BTL want to lump them as one for the sake of argument I’ll forego my hair splitting. Yes mediation is generally quicker (certainly than waiting for court timetables) and therefore saves you money in terms of legal fees, so we’re back to talking about funding again but this time in how we as mediators can reduce your costs.

TWO is quick resolution – which I think is what saving time in number one was actually going for so let’s accept one if saving money and two is saving time to get a quicker resolution, I’m not criticising I’m just adding clarity.

THREE for me is the big one reducing stress – this comes in part because of one and two but also because of the manner in which mediation proceeds, less confrontational, with a collaborative approach to help the parties work together not against each other.

Which of course leads to FOUR retaining control of the outcome, and when you instruct Northwest Mediation control of the process, one meeting, two, by zoom in person, you choose.

And by keeping matters amicable you (number FIVE) retain relationships rather than try to pick on every “failing” of the opponent the parties are encouraged to understand each other which then allows them to work together whether for the sake of getting the house sold or for the children.

I end every blog with a reminder that mediation reduces stress and saves time and money just so readers get it into their mind-set that this (mediation) is the future, you spend too much time and energy battling when using an adversarial process and no one benefits (except the lawyers).

Funding down under is also in the mediation spot light this week with a class action for what amounts to claims for restitution for effectively slave labour.

West Australian government policy used to be that up to 75% of the (mainly indigenous) workers’ pay could be withheld in cattle industry (as well as related work in other pastoral, pearling and some domestic work).

Due to the nature of the work whole families have been impacted by this law and now some of them are taking a class action (with Shine Lawyers) to get their money back, the action has been referred to mediation in order to find a speedy resolution to the issues. Tristan Gaven from Shine is looking to work out a repayment framework for the families involved that can then be used going forward for any other complainants.

The West Australian Attorney General (John Quigley)’s department said “Over the coming months, the government will look to achieve a mediated outcome, with an acknowledgement of the impact that historical government policies have had on Aboriginal people and their families over many years"

Whatever the reason for your funding problem, reclaiming it, reducing the spend of it, finding more, mediation is the way 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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