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  • Writer's pictureEd Johnson

Jeff and Beau in Mediation

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.

I was sat in a zoom training session this week with my camera off so I could drink my coffee and communicate with another person in the session by text without distracting the speaker and thought about my screen saver/avatar picture.

You’ll see it on most of the social media I use for Northwest Mediation, it’s the viaduct at Stockport which was completed in 1840 and now flies over the M60.

I’ve always like bridges in the imagery for mediation, it’s not about meeting you exactly half way but it is about both sides meeting (if not actually then metaphorically) and importantly back when the viaduct was built it was itself subject to a mediated settlement.

The deal which was arrived at by the local council and the railway authorities (in their 19th century forms) was to allow the massive building project (the most number of bricks in a construction in Britain at the time) the disruption to the commercial/dock areas below and over the confluence of three busy rivers provided that all trains coming through stopped within spitting distance of Stockport County’s home ground (ok that might not have been the reason at the time).

Anyway the Parliament Act of 1840 enshrined that all rail services had to stop at Stockport (and that would be the case right up to the 2000s if I read my Wikipedia correctly). This ensured that Stockport was not only a feed town to Manchester but would become and now is commutable to London in two hours (if only the fares allowed it!).

So a bridge built as a result of a compromise, over turbulent waters…sounds like mediation to me.

This week those building bridges include teams in Nigeria where the north of the country remains troubled by violence and kidnapping.

In a research project from Emmanuel Ogbudu, Catlan Reardon and the Mercy Corps reported here, it was found that compared to local leaders without mediation training the amount of violence involved in disputes where the leaders were trained in mediation skills was significantly reduced.

The team accept that it isn’t a silver bullet but it is hugely encouraging that from just three days’ training for local leaders the impact seen over the following year was enough to be able to recognise that there was benefit 29% of communities reporting violence as opposed to 55% where no training had been received. Within those same communities the measurement of who felt safe most or all of the time was equally stark 53% of those with trained leaders set against 32% where they did not.

The team used interest based negotiation skills (helping the leaders recognise and grasp common grounds and goals) to establish settlements.

The training also helps prevent the use of local division being widened by what the article calls “elites” and used for their own goals as opposed to the populace at large.

It’s impressive both in terms of training and impact, I wish them well as they continue to expand the training elsewhere in Africa.

Having seen the impact of virtual mediation in helping parties build bridges in employment cases the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (US) has now made the offer of virtual mediation a permanent fixture.

Of those who responded to the commission’s survey 70% of attendees who had been through the virtual process said they would prefer to deal with any future issues that way than in person.

Quoting flexibility, safety, convenience, time and cost all as factors leading the participants to want more of the same the decision was really a no brainer. A complimentary study on the impact on mediators said there was little evidence of “zoom fatigue” and outcomes were as good if not better.

Hoping that there will be some bridges built is Dassault Aviation SA and Airbus SE regarding their joint venture on jet fighters. The two companies have traditionally backed different versions of what will eventually be the New Generation Fighter jet but had come together last year with some parties believing agreement had been reached on the approach.

Eric Trappier Dassault CEO said “We made our last proposal, which was negotiated over more than a year, and we’re waiting for it to be signed” and that it was now up to governments to step in as mediators and find an agreeable compromise.

The difficulty is that Dassault want to be lead developer whereas Airbus want a more collegiate approach on an equal footing.

If they can build a plan I’m sure they can build a bridge.

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

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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