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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Ignorance is bliss

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.

Ignorance is bliss, it’s not actually a great phrase to live your life by. Though the media are doing their best to use it in relation to the current surge (it’s wave 4.5 for those counting) of covid cases actually burying your head in the sand only delays problems and often makes them worse (if I sound slightly jaded it’s because we’ve got covid in the house again thanks to the mismanagement of the ongoing pandemic by our government).


Agreeing to engage in mediation is when the head burying stops and you face problems head on, I won’t pretend facing your problems is easy, if it were I’d be out of work, but I can help make the process as painless as possible, it’s certainly cheaper, quicker and less stressful than going to court. Compare Northwest Mediation’s fees with solicitors costs (I heard this week from one client who was paying £400 per hour that’s nearly the whole cost of a day’s worth of mediation which is generally all it takes to get a resolution).



Sophie Bishop writes this week about mediation helping in toxic relationships. A prime example of why people end up trying to ignore their issues is if one party has been creating a toxic relationship in work or at home or in business one party may try to engender a lack of trust, belittle you, fail to communicate or try to control you.


As Sophie says this is not just in family situations, though the term gets used more often in those mediaitons than others, but in all situations where there is a toxic relationship or a risk of one developing mediation can help re-establish communications and understanding by encouraging the parties to listen to hear (rather than listening to respond).


We often look at how communication is carried out, one example I had recently was dealing with the issue of whether people in the same office considering that Whatsapp was the best way to communicate when they could go and see the person and avoid the misunderstanding of text talk and build a personal relationship? Technology is a wonderful thing when used in the right way but it can also be used to bully, belittle and bowl over. Communication is a two way street and edicts made by messenger/text/whatsapp are likely to cause more problems than they solve.


If you’re the person sending the message maybe you are hiding your head in the sand as you tell yourself you are “not good with conflict”, we’d ask why is it conflict if it is work related it should be about support for the business and employees, explain rather than order wherever possible.


Gary Beinberg writes about Bubbe Meises this week. In all my years of LARP and role-play I’ve never knowingly come across this term for myths or fairy stories.


Gary is quite correct that lawyers are often the author of the bubbe meise that “mediation might work for some but not in this case”, rare are the cases where two parties willing to attend mediation cannot reach agreement. So rare that when I had two mediations in a week that did not resolve I had to spend hours examining the cases for what was unusual about them, was it something I had missed, was it something about the process I’d not helped the parties understand.


The answer is that every bubbe meise has an element of truth, and yes mediation does not always work but where it will not is in cases where there are either factors beyond your control (the unseen third party encouraging the dispute for their own reasons) or a failure of the parties to genuinely want to resolve matters, as Alfred Pennyworth said “some people, Master Bruce, just want to watch the world burn”. Or as Gary puts it the cost of war is high the outcome uncertain but in the hands of a mediator costs are diminished and a resolution shaped by the parties working together is better than that in which one person or panel determines the outcome and leaves one party (metaphorically) dead in a ditch.


It’s been Pride month, my daughter held a pride party for all her friends of various gender identification and sexual preference (or none) and I am I hope justifiably proud of her and her friends for not keeping their heads down and facing up to the prejudice they saw at school regarding recognition of people’s differences.


The Mountain Mediation centre continues its partnership with Park City LGBTQ+ for what board of director’s member Sam Mekrut describes as talks “about a variety of subjects, from housing, to gender identity, to what it feels like to be a woman nowadays. And we use a restorative justice kind of process. So, we sit in circle, and it's an opportunity to really engage in a conversation in a unique and different way where we're not debating a topic, we're not trying to solve a problem. We're simply trying to discuss how we feel about certain issues and connect as human beings.”


Shining light on issues to understand them rather than burying them away so that misunderstandings are avoided and understanding promoted. There’s a key point Sam makes which is that even interpreting a question can be different depending on where and who you are, that’s true of many mediations, I’ll ask one question and get the answers to two or more that I didn’t necessarily ask or that the parties interpret differently, again it’s way listening to hear is important.


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 me at Northwest Mediation on 07931318347 or via email at ed.johnson@northwestmediation.co.uk

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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