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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Hard work in mediation

With the continued backlog of cases 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 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 all change again here at NWM towers, our eldest has had his last day in school and now awaits his A level exams with some trepidation but he’s put in the hard work so things should pay off.

Hard work is something people don’t initially think of when they talk about mediation, they think of it often (as I confess I used to) as “soft” talking and sharing experiences, and whilst the techniques and skills used my fall into the category of so called “soft skills” easy it is not. Hard questions, paying attention, spotting contradictions, asking tough questions and posing real life potential outcomes are not easy matters to deal with. Not is listening actively (part of the role of the mediator) for many hours. Those skills come from using them regularly in a variety of settings and being aware that each mediation client is different and whilst for spreadsheets and KPI might fall into a category their case is unique and dealing with all sides in a dispute everyone’s take on the “facts” is different as well.

One part of that hard work is the initial decision to mediate, many couples take a view without thinking that it’s not for them and off they go to the lawyers, who are rather obliged to refer them on to mediate. Now not all celeb cases choose to mediate, though in the case of Waggatha Christie they could have saved a lot of column inches by doing so (I’ve not kept up with the case it falls into my categorisation of “better things to do with my life” but if you’re interested in how two former friends were never actually friends and were apparently stabbing each other in the back for cash or fun go ahead and knock yourself out, then perhaps find a life).

But as this article makes clear one reasons celebs choose mediation is that messy divorces make for appalling future relations, mediation aims to avoid the adversarial process and find a way for the couple of working in the future (if they have kids) or getting to a point of walking away with a deal they can live with (in terms of finance). It’s not easy it takes time and effort on both sides, I blogged previously about pre-marital mediation and whilst I still think that’s as romantic as a pre-nup there’s no harm in thinking about your relationship in a deep and meaningful way before taking the plunge to get hitched (or move in together a TOLATA claim can be as difficult as an ancillary finance claim).

And sometimes the hard work doesn’t result in an immediate deal. In British Columbia Canada the Sea to Sky transit union has been unable so far to reach agreement with Whistler Transit Ltd./Diversified Transportation even with the input of Dave Schaub mediator.

Unlike the comments I make above about confidentiality Whistler’s parent company felt confident in setting out the two options they had put forward, including potential acceptance of arbitration in the next rounds of talks. It’s an interesting tactic mid private negotiations to put out in the public what your best proposals were, it doesn’t often help as it puts the other party on notice that you won’t keep matters confidential, though perhaps in this case the positions were being made public so that the members knew from the proposer rather than the union what had been turned down. Not sure it’s a tactic I’d risk but I’m sure Whistler did not do so without thinking of the consequences.

Last this week is David Hoffman (not the barrister from 18 St John's) talking about the difficulties which can be overcome with mediation, the “explosion” of cases during the pandemic which have come to mediation and which continue to do so thanks partly to backed up courts but mainly due to the realisation that court proceedings don’t necessarily result in an outcome that any party wanted. David also notices as I have that geographic limits no longer affect mediators thanks to the use of Zoom.

The three pillars of mediation remain it’s voluntary, 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 Northwest Mediation on 07931318347 or me direct 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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