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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

International Mediation Awareness

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, 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 are limits on physical meetings.

It’s International Mediation Week as part of which I’ll be attending the Civil Mediation Council’s annual conference “Mediation Moving Forward” today. Normally a great chance to meet people and hear new innovations. As mediators we are used to thinking outside the box so this year the conference is remotely carried out but with the same meet and greet sessions by video link, eventually no doubt we’ll all be communicating by bio-holograms on a graphene based filter screen but for now it’s a double lap top day for me and my feedback rating for the lunch will be awesome.

Lord Neuberger discussed that there is pressure on HMG to make mediation and ADR mandatory a move Northwest Mediation welcomes and reminded delegates that the court is supposed to consider early evaluation per the judgment in Lomax v Lomax 2019 which in Lord Neuberger’s view was a big step towards ensuring the parties engage in ADR.

Nor did he consider it wrong to make parties mediate in principal noting that there were various blocks to access to court, not least court fees, unless orders and pre-action protocols.

In Chicago the teachers’ unions are wanting to keep learning remote until the pandemic is properly under control (which sadly has no chance of happening until they get the thin-skinned orange out of the White House) and have asked for mediation. The Chicago Public Schools authority want teachers back in the classroom as soon as possible (there are no plans so far for kids who have been shielding to come back or for what America calls pre-K and we call nursery age).

Jesse Sharkey the president of the Chicago Teachers’ Union said “Seventy-two percent of parents in that poll said that community spread of the virus has to be under control before we return to in-person schooling”

Emily Bolton for the Chicago Public Schools said “We continue to meet and work with CTU, as we have all year, in the hopes they will become a productive partner in getting students safely back to in-person learning”

Dian Palmer of the Service Employees International Union Local 73 added their concerns “We understand that managing the school and parents’ expectations is a big job. That’s why we’re willing to share that load. If CPS would sit down and negotiate with us fairly, we could figure out the best way to get the kids back in school. So I’m urging CPS to work with the unions to help families and children thrive”

Ross Mitchell of Brodies LLP quotes Abraham Lincoln in this article that a “good settlement is better than a good law-suit”. Reflecting Lord Neuberger’s comments that money and time are saved but crucially the sleepless nights which litigation brings, the long stressful conversations with family, friends and lawyers.

I can tell you from personal and professional experience the cost of litigation goes well beyond pounds, shillings and pence, impact on parties’ mental health is evident in any case but particularly in ones drawn out over months and years as many litigated cases now are.

Ross comments that even if mediation isn’t wholly successful it often serves as a springboard for further talks which lead to settlement. It remains true that in most cases a settlement is achieved, in those where it does not Northwest Mediation’s experience is that there is always a narrowing of issues and often settlement shortly after the mediation.

The claims arising out “Operation Candy Crush” for false arrest which are looking to be incredibly expensive have had the deadline for discovery in the mediation process extended by U.S. District Court Judge Aleta Trauger to the 29th January 2021.

Stacey and Mary Ruth Hamilton were arrested and had their shops locked by the police on the accusation of selling sweets with CBD in them, hence the operation name. Charges were dismissed as the CBD may be a derivative of marijuana but is not illegal.

Thus far the public costs of defending sheriff Mike Fitzhugh, District Attorney General Jennings Jones, Assistant District Attorney John Zimmerman and Smyrna Police Chief Kevin Arnold is in excess of $134,000 so settlement is ideal.

A joint statement from the attorneys for both sides said “Admittedly, the time involved with this mediation has taken longer because of the number of parties and decision makers involved, as well as earlier delays caused by covid concerns…However, in consideration of the current context of this case, counsel for the Parties have conferred and agree that it would be in their clients’ best interests, from an efficiency and cost savings perspective, to continue to explore resolution of this action through the pending mediation

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. 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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