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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Here comes the flood - Looking to the near future of 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 uses Zoom, Whereby, 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 can be no physical meeting.

I’m not a huge fan of having mediation regularised as part of the benefit of the process as opposed to the court process is that it has in built flexibility as one size does not fit all.

However having some guidance (hence the photo) on what the shape of a mediation (or as in this report “pre-mediation”) might look like is perhaps helpful.

The US Department of Labor (sic) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued three directives last month dealing with procedures to help speed matters to conclusion without litigation. The OFCCP deals with discrimination cases where employers are used by the federal government.

The first new stage is between the initial show cause notice but before referral to the Office of the Solicitor. The directive seeks to set out a process of mediator selection and time limits to streamline the parties into mediation itself. The procedure is not mandatory and seems from my reading to be pretty much how most mediators conduct the pre-mediation process anyway with neutral contact to both parties reminders of confidentiality and the need for key personnel to actually be present in the mediation.

The other two directives deal with reduction of time between audit and action and the referral to the ombudsman, all steps designed to remove delays from difficult and potentially costly claims.

Meanwhile in Hawaii this report confirms that the Rapid Response Landlord Tenant Mediation Program is offering free tenant and landlord mediation. David Ige (Democratic governor) ensured that at least up to the 31/5/20 no one could be evicted during the current pandemic which has seen thousands furloughed or left without employment.

But when the moratorium on rent ends the state does not want to see a sudden flood of eviction cases hence the creation of the free to access service for tenants to allow them to work with their landlords on a sensible way forward.

Both the The Kuikahi Mediation Center and the West Hawaii Mediation Center will be offering their services through the scheme.

Northwest Mediation is happy to assist as well, we already work with landlords and tenants, whether on issues from the tenancy or between two sets of tenants.

Looking ahead to the end of the pandemic (I know it’s a long way off but as forward planning seems to be something lacking in government quarters we’ll all need to pick up the slack for them).

This article records that there are already millions of dollars in pending suits for fraud in respect of withheld payments, holiday claims as well as cold calling. Add to that what we foresee as hundreds of cases of employment litigation where employers have taken the pandemic as an opportunity to abuse their position and either oust staff with no reference to the law or internal guidance or insist on new working practices that effectively constructively dismiss staff.

Add to that claims from the sporting industry, both staff and reclamation of the cost of attending events and the raft of clinical negligence claims and there is a bubble of litigation awaiting the full re-opening of the courts (which if current re-listing is anything to go by will be some time after the 12/6/20).

Of course whilst this article talks about class action in the US that manner of claim is less prevalent in the UK so we should be preparing for multiple individual claims as well as a number of group actions.

In a similar response in South Africa predicting a huge litigation bill post arising from the coronavirus the government there has already set up a mediation process to give access to the poor in claims against the government arising from the lockdown.

Ronald Lamola Justice minister said “When you look at most of these issues, particularly with the processes, there are people who are aggrieved by some of the issues but do not have the money to go to court.

“So if they raise the dispute the state attorney can then be able to mediate between them and the various departments to say that there is a particular issue and we can resolve it…

"But even for those who do have money who want to take us to court, we are creating a buffer whereby the disputes can be resolved by both parties and they agree that their dispute does not need to be settled through the court, then they can mediate through a judge who can give a ruling that both parties accept.”

The process will be funded by the government so free to use by the Claimant.

As we’ve said before choose to mediate early and resolve your issues effectively, quickly 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.

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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