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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

If at first you don't succeed...

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 two-for-one this week with the Blog for the FMT already up and running and then my usual news roundup.

If at first you don’t succeed try, try again, they say. You’ll remember my comment about the mouse in the loft last week, turns out it’s a (or possibly more) rat, we think, at least it sounds a bit heavy to be a mouse. We’ve tried a few traps and we’re still going, but ultimately when as an amateur you fail it’s time to call a professional.

And yes, trying again to work through your problems is something people have to do in disputes, if they go to lawyers often they end up only thinking about the problem as a stage at a time, issue, documents, statements, trial and not (as we do in mediation) focusing on resolution.

Mediation is available at any stage of proceedings, before during and even after a final hearing and if the first attempt doesn’t get a result because one party or other isn’t ready to make the commitment then there’s no harm in trying again.

And of course when trying to do things again you should always be aware of wasting resources (tenuous link?) to the growing emphasis on sustainable mediation discussed by the CIARb’s two day meeting last week.

In her address Isabel Phillips, director of ADR & Mediation Development at CIArb said “It is about starting a conversation amongst the global mediation community, it’s a conversation we need to have..meeting our needs now in a way that doesn’t prevent future generations from doing so”.

Because if you don’t then the next generation won’t be able to have even a first go at mediation let alone trying again.

Joel Lee of the Singapore International Mediation Institute noted there was high resistance to remote/online mediation – this being the most obvious carbon reduction method for mediators – he said people cited meeting in person as being more effective but (as I’ve found at Northwest Mediation) most clients are prepared to engage online as it is more convenient and time saving (ecological considerations rarely come up but it’s one reason I prefer it).

And given the topic of this week’s blog of course if online doesn’t work then in person can be tried, there are numerous differences for online versus in person and not necessarily better or worse aspects of the process it just is a different approach which, kin my view, gives far more people access to mediation in a much more convenient time that (as a pure by product) saves the planet.

And if you do get things wrong, as Lorraine Sagel says here, you can always turn those errors into both learning experiences (for when you try again) or indeed stories for a memoir (mine’s not ready yet).

As Lorraine says helping clients to understand that the stories they tell themselves are just that, stories, allows them to forgive themselves, understand where others are coming from but without placing blame.

Making mistakes is human it doesn’t make you a mistake, though I’d thoroughly like to suggest if you are chancellor or PM and make mistakes that wreck peoples’ mortgages and pensions you may be the exception that proves this rule.

Lorraine points out it’s only a helpful mistake if you learn from it, not if you keep voting Tory, I mean keep making the same mistake. Clients (and mediators) need help to recognise errors, how they can avoid them, what led to them and how to recover from them.

And where you’ve been doing the same thing time and again and it hasn’t worked try something new, like the commercial courts in India are doing, making mediation the first line of attack so as to clear up the horrendous back log of cases.

India’s supreme court has now held in Patil Automation Private Limited and Ors. v Rakheja Engineers Private Limited that mediation requirements are not just procedural tick boxes but must be complied with by all parties. The limit at which mediation has been required started out asINR10 million but was reduced in 2018 to INR 300,000 (about £3000). There are difficulties for some states as the rules vary and access to mediators can be patchy but it is significant that the SC is making repeated efforts to get parties talking and away from the court room.

The three pillars of mediation remain it’s voluntary (except apparently when it won’t be anymore), 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 me at Northwest Mediation on 0161 667 4418 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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