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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

It's only words...mediation

With the continued backlog of cases mediation is now more than ever the best choice to find a resolution for your dispute. Get your dispute resolved now so 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.


Most mediation tagged news articles this week relate to the efforts being made in the middle east. It’s a dispute that’s been going on long before my birth and in some respects before the birth of modern civilization so I don’t expect a quick or easy resolution. We often look at the Northern Ireland peace process as an example of what can be achieved when parties talk, it’s not perfect there are still some issues which raise themselves from time to time but it is no longer the all but open warfare I remember from my youth.


The length of time a dispute has been going on prior to mediation can have an impact on the length of time it takes to get parties not just to a resolution but to the table in the first place. Where families have been in dispute for months over finances it can take just as long to get them to agree to come for a meeting and then they are shocked how quickly matters can be resolved.


For civil matters it can have been years that the arguments have been rumbling on, maybe taking two years to issue then 6 months in proceedings before someone decides to come and see us.


It’s why you need to know the tips and tricks for getting spouses (and other parties) moving forward. In this article Zarira Love reminds us of the importance of refocusing clients on the kids, the heart of the matter in a parental dispute.

Too often parents want to pint score on what has happened in the past and whilst we are always informed by this when examined often the point is nothing to do with the children and much more to do with criticizing mum or dad.


Zarira’s second point is the one that comes up regularly with clients what are you going to do if this, non confrontational, relatively cheap, relatively quick, process doesn’t get a result? Spend lots more time, money and stress with lawyers. I like that she says “calmly” remind clients, no mediator should need to told to be calm but it’s important not to be argumentative, it’s why the police ask questions rather than shouting “stop” framing a question makes people stop and think “what do you think you are you doing” being plod’s question of choice whereas in mediation we tend to lean heavily on “why” or “what’s the alternative to that”.


Hiring a lawyer as a buffer is not the way I would phrase having the back up when needed, using hybrid where lawyers are involved is fine but not my first option to discuss with clients. Certainly when there is an absolute dead end I will always refer clients to their lawyers but it’s rare that the clients cannot work out the solution themselves.


Getting clients to accept and show they are not here to fight is a tricky one, it takes some skill to remind clients that they don’t need to wind the other party up, they’ll have spent months doing that and where has it got them? And yes of course hire me as the best mediator available at the best rate.


I like to see how the rest of the world views our mediation process in the UK (well England and Wales if you want to be technical about jurisdiction). Here we have the view of our system from Outlook India.


It’s a joy to see that they highlight improved communication (where all sessions start in family in my experience) better outcomes, cost effective solutions, maintaining privacy and encouraging co-parenting and discouraging future upset and cost.


All of those things matter in family disputes and in civil disputes. The way you get there is with an experienced mediator (check how old this site is if you want to know how long I’ve been doing this) and that’s what you get with me. I am often asked by others to let them attend mediaitons with me to see how I work, so my results and reputation speaks for itself, but of course because of the confidentiality it’s difficult to boast about the successes, however from multimillion pound deals to neighbours in dispute resolution is 90% achieved by me, partly because clients know I will stay on long after the time set for mediation has passed to ensure we get to a resolution.


On occasion that has meant having ongoing discussions on the wording of agreements with the legal teams while the clients have gone off for the tea!


Apparently it’s mediation week, I am on several email lists for the FMC and CMC and I haven’t clocked that it is so I’m not sure how the public at large are meant to know. To coincide with this under-advertised week Missing Children Europe is launching its cross border mediation platform.


This allows parties to enter mediation from whichever jurisdiction they are in (let’s avoid saying “fled to”). It is without doubt a great project, allowing separated couples cross border mediation (I’ve done a couple of business cross border mediations and they work well provided everyone engages) I’m not sure that linking the discussion with child abduction is necessarily a positive sounding point though.


If someone has abducted a child the chance of mediation at least initially is going to be fairly slim.


But then any boost in publicity and visibility of mediation is good news, maybe next year I’ll even know it’s mediation week before I start writing the blog!


Finally I’m attending a training session on the power of words this week, it’s an interesting week to do that. If you want to know on a global scale that words have power think about how the news describes attacks between nations and or terrorist groups (and whether the word terrorist is used), whether an attack is described as a massacre, as an invasion without context and where “retaliatory” is used.


Killing is horrific whether the attacks are retaliatory for something recent or for a problem that has built over many years talking is always the way to solutions in even the most embittered matters.


In the maters I deal with clients often have to reconsider their own dispute and consider if talking rather than arguing might not be the better way to reach a solution that does not involve making things worse. I have no answers for the middle east, but I can help in your personal dispute whether it’s family or business it’s always personal and I can always help.


The three pillars of mediation remain it’s voluntary (at the moment), 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 I'm ready to assist here at Northwest Mediation.


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 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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