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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Good News Mediation

It’s nearly Christmas so this will be the last blog of this year (probably).

I won’t pretend to understand the results of the election or hide my disappointment in the selection of our new government, with its many more MPs – that’s more than there were in the last parliament as opposed to more including the one’s who retained their seats!

Does the country still face a crisis? Yes, but adopting the that every crisis brings opportunity and with my mediator hat on there’s always room for compromise and agreement (the Chinese glyph for “crisis” is made up of the two symbols for danger and opportunity) so while we face the new danger of a government which favours the few let’s take the opportunity to work for the many.

Turning then to the hope for the future of mediation successes to come and expansion of the industry whilst to mediation successes

A huge settlement achieved through mediation has been approved by the presiding judge.

The result and the work of the mediator were praised by both sides.

In the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas Judge Lee Yeakel was told that neither side’s lawyers had experienced another case with such extensive time dedicated to mediation. I have a slight issue with the fact that the mediator is said to have suggested the settlement figure (that would surely be arbitration) but a lot gets lost in translation between lawyer and reporter.

The mediator former Texas Supreme Court justice Deborah Hankinson, met with the parties 5 times and had numerous phone calls. To be blunt that’s not a lot for a civil mediator in a case of that size so maybe the lawyers don’t have a lot of experience dealing with mediators, we’re all pretty dedicated to getting a satisfactory result but I don’t want to detract from the recognition of Deborah’s hard work and it is great to be able to report on such praise for the industry.

The background of the case is to do with the “Farmers Smart Plan Auto policy” insurance and to which clients the preferential rates were offered

In more good news stories this week saw the meeting between newly appointed mediator,

Former U.S. District Magistrate Judge Karen Klein, the Fargo Airport Authority and representatives from the City of Fargo to try and resolve the ongoing dispute about whether workers at the airport are classed as employees of the city. You’ll recall previous blogs where we talked about the parties finally agreeing to meet and appoint a mediator, well now the mediation (or at least the first meeting) has taken place.

Mike Haugen, airport authority chairman, maintains that the contractual position is clear and the employees work for the authority but hopes that mediation will see an end to the dispute which began in 1969!

You’ll recall from when we last blogged about this matter that if no agreement is reached the airport authority could be dissolved by the city, so there is a real need to reach an agreement for both sides.

And further good news for the use of mediation in criminal work. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy aims to channel young offenders who have committed lesser offences (minor property damage, theft, simple assault and similar).

Kym is partnering her department with Wayne County Dispute Resolution to direct as many offenders as possible into their “talk it out” mediation process.

Rather than give kids a record get them talking about why they’ve put graffiti on a wall and maybe redirect their energies elsewhere. Kym says “Our motivation is simply to try to keep some youth out of the criminal justice system. And to give them the services they need so they can better their lives.”

Board President of the dispute centre, Siham Jaafar, said “Providing a platform for communication and reform provides a pathway to true healing,”

The process will necessitate parents signing off on the process and the offenders admitting their offence but will lead them out of the justice system and prevent them having a criminal record and impacting on future career prospects.

And finally mediation begins in Brisbane this week sorghum growers of New South Wales and Queensland are meeting this week in mediation with representatives of seed supplier Advanta.

Shattercane is a weed which the farmers say was contained in a batch of the MR43 Elite seed sorghum seeds provided by Advanta, and has had a devastating effect on their crops.

Andrew Jenner from Crows Nest is the lead claimant and has already had to sell his farm describing shattercane as “like bamboo, you can almost see it growing”. Shattercane has a staggered germination making it near impossible to control.

Ray Finkelstein, a former federal court judge, is conducting the mediation in an attempt to avoid the four week trial listed for next year.

Choose to mediate early and resolve your issues effectively, timeously, and with less stress and costs than going to your solicitor. 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.

Take the gambling out of your dispute resolution.

There are so many situations which could have been resolved by early intervention of mediation it continues to surprise me the lengths the public (and some lawyers) 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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